Fan experience at sporting events, or any event really, goes well beyond whatever is happening on the court/field/stage. The experience really begins from the time someone becomes aware of what you are doing, but for now let’s look at how food plays into the experience.
At most events that last a decent amount of time, there’s usually some sort of concessions option or food stand or food truck or maybe even a full on restaurant. Certainly the event host is trying to make money and diversify the revenue streams by selling food, but people gotta eat too. How much thought do you put into what food you sell, what choices? How you present the point-of-sale location theme/design/menu presentation? The names of the items? Are you making my experience better because I plan on eating what you’re selling?
Perhaps there’s nothing more personal than something that I put inside my body. It might be a stretch to discuss here the event as something I see and that goes inside my mind, but certainly a crumbly, floppy, lukewarm hot dog on a stale, crusty bun conjures a vivid image of something that shouldn’t be in my stomach in a few minutes. Why would I want that inside me? I know I’m going to feel terrible in a few minutes. Perhaps I’ll eat before the game or wait and go somewhere afterwards instead because the food at your place is terrible and who wants cheese out of pump anyway.
Don’t let this happen to your team! Take pride in the food you offer. The food experience should be WHY some people go to your event. Why not make your F&B operation so good that people say “let’s get dinner at the arena and oh yeah, we’ll catch the game too.” Do it because they can’t get that hot, juicy, locally made, fresh bratwurst on the hand-crafted and carefully baked roll topped with fresh locally made cream cheese, house-made hot sauce and sauteed-in-front-of-me peppers and onions (locally grown and delivered daily of course). Now that’s why I go to your game…to get that one item that I love – how it tastes, where it comes from, how it makes me feel in body and mind.
Rethink what you’re doing. The things that often seem like they’re taken for granted could add value and keep people coming back because nobody pays attention to the little things like you do. When you do that – you’re per caps will go up, which is great; your come back ticket buyer numbers will increase; and word of mouth will spread because people love eating food that makes them feel good inside and out.