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Q&A: Goodeats answers call for innovation during COVID-19

COVID-19 has meant the stadium and arena industry adapting to a new way of operating, therefore requiring new tools to do so.

This has necessitated companies being flexible in providing the expertise to aid the big reopening amid the global pandemic, with one such example being payment technology firm SumUp POS and its click & collect and table ordering service, Goodeats.

With clients in the sports industry including English Premier League football club Aston Villa and County Championship cricket club Surrey and its stadium the Kia Oval, Jonathan Hunot, Director at SumUp POS, discusses the story behind Goodeats.

TheStadiumBusiness.com: How did Goodeats come about, and how has it evolved since launching?

Jonathan Hunot: “We had started work on an online ordering solution long before the pandemic hit, but of course, back then it just wasn’t the most pressing issue at the time. The platform was in an ‘incubating’ period, as one of the many side projects we were working on, but didn’t prioritise. Once it became evident that COVID-19 was here to stay, we pushed the completion of this to the forefront.

“Our customers had a huge role to play in making Goodeats happen. They trusted us to provide a great mobile ordering solution and once we ascertained the situation, we released it to the market in a matter of two weeks, equipped with a whole host of features to prepare our merchants at the start of the first lockdown last year.

“Since we were fulfilling a very important and time-sensitive function, we saw that reflected in our numbers. Within the span of 12 weeks, our customer base for Goodeats grew from 50 to 500. And we’re continuing on that trajectory to this day. 

“Many of our customers were looking to Goodeats to serve their community. It was a matter of ‘we have the stock, supermarkets don’t – what can we do to help’ and it was a matter of connecting the food and groceries to their customers without needing to enter physical stores – and they were looking at new tech to cater to this.

“From that we had cafes and off-licences offer grocery boxes as aid and it really served as a helping hand to the community. We catered to access-restricted places like elderly homes while supermarkets just didn’t have enough delivery time slots to cater to everyone.” 

TSB: What kind of presence does it have in the stadium/arena marketplace?

JH: “SumUp POS (formerly Goodtill) have over 35 stadiums and arenas in the UK utilising our mobile ordering.”

TSB: What benefits can Goodeats have for a stadium/arena, and can you give us any specific examples?

JH: “In terms of hospitality-specific solutions, a popular feature was the ability for merchants to stagger orders. This meant spreading out the demand, enabling pre-orders and capacity ordering to ensure that hundreds of fans didn’t show up at the collection spot at the same time. 

“It was a way to reduce the bottleneck of fans and overcrowding where the transmission would be far more likely.

“Not only that, but with pre-orders, stadium runners were able to plan their resources more effectively. The more orders our customers received ahead of the game, the less they have had to move stock around between outlets, equipped with the knowledge of the kind of demand they could expect i.e., how much of what was being ordered from which venue and locations.

“We also found that introducing table ordering via QR codes reduced the amount of staff movement required in and around the areas, and therefore touchpoints too. This filtered into the equipment shared and used among staff when it came to iPads used for order fulfilment. It served as a contact-free way of working, not just limiting staff movement but limiting the tools staff had to share.” 

TSB: How about in-seat ordering?

JH: “It’s specifically our mobile and in-seat ordering giving stadiums a way to implement social distancing and offer convenience coupled with the atmosphere of a live experience.

“Using a mobile ordering method, fans can order their drinks or food from their mobile device and either have it delivered to their seat or collect it as soon as it’s ready. Concession operators can also now use wireless, hand-held POS terminals to take quick-purchase items like drinks or ice-creams directly out to fans and accept payments right there.

“If mobile or in-seat ordering wasn’t an option, placing self-service kiosks or checkouts near to hospitality or merchandising outlets gave customers another way to fast-track their orders or purchases. 

“Mobile ordering meant that stadiums could upsell to customers simply and easily, without having to constantly train and remind staff to do so. Pop up promotions and special offers are displayed via their smartphone during the order selection process with merchants seeing an overall revenue increase of up to 20%.

“What’s more, Goodeats customers have found that using the mobile-ordering platform also increases tips for service staff – a very welcome benefit!”

TSB: Looking forward, do you think that changes to the stadium/arena experience taken as a result of COVID-19, e.g., in-seat ordering, could become permanent and readily accepted long-term?

JH: “Once fans can download their tickets, order everything and anything from their smartphone device, including merch and refreshments, and build loyalty on their fan apps then the adoption will be there for the long term.

“I do believe that the results will speak for themselves, and while it may have been the pandemic that triggered the adoption of mobile ordering and POS tech, it’s an affordable investment. The majority of our customers who bought our POS during the pandemic have stuck with it since reopening.

“This is ultimately because they’re seeing their bottom line inflate, providing a greater customer experience and equipping them with all the tools they need to scale and future-proof for the long haul.”

SumUp POS is a sponsor of this year’s TheStadiumBusiness Summit, which will take place at Emirates Old Trafford in Manchester on November 30 and December 1. Click here to meet them.

Image: SumUp POS