Sports venues attract high-energy fans who want to have a good time while rooting for their favorite teams and athletes, or cheering on their friends in some friendly competition. While there’s never a dull moment when you run one a stadium or ballpark, operating a venue isn’t all fun and games.
Successful sports venue management is hard work. It takes experience, skill and a little help from technology to ensure that visitors are having a good time and the business is profitable. While ticket and admission sales are a main source of revenue, food and beverage sales also bring in a considerable volume of sales for sports venues.
In this guide to sports venue management, we’re focusing in on tips for running your food and beverage outlets more efficiently and profitably. You’ll learn:
- What sports venue management is
- 9 tips for managing food and beverage outlets at sports venues
- How you can use a sports management software to help organize & optimize your business
What Is Sports Venue Management?
Sports venue management is the practice of operating an establishment in which people participate in or watch sports. Football stadiums, bowling alleys, golf clubs and sports-focused eatertainment establishments are examples of sports venues.
Food and beverage (F&B) outlets are becoming a big draw for sports fans, which is why having great dining and drinking options is critical for attracting guests, generating incremental revenue and ensuring fans keep coming back for more.
9 Tips for Managing Food & Beverage Outlets at Sports Venues
We’re filling you in on nine top tips for managing your sports venue’s F&B outlets that will help you simplify operations while boosting sales.
1. Give Guests Lots of Options
It’s important to have something for everyone! If you manage a large venue, like a stadium, create multiple food service outlets with various offerings at different price levels.
For example, at a football stadium, you could have a casual beer garden and fast food outlets throughout the venue, and offer an upscale dining experience for guests who reserve suites.
Having a variety of dining options helps turn games and events into eatertainment and helps attract people whose interests go beyond just sports.
2. Offer Reservations
While reservations are usually associated with traditional restaurants, they can be a great asset for stadiums and other sports venues. When guests don’t have to worry about whether or not they’ll get a table at their favorite dining spot, they can better enjoy the game or event.
On the operations side, reservations help your team know who and how many guests to expect, which impacts staffing and inventory decisions. With a white-labeled reservations solution like SevenRooms on your website, guests can easily make reservations online before the event or game.
3. Reduce No-Shows
The upside of reservations is that they help your team prepare for a smooth day of service. The downside of reservations is that sometimes guests don’t show up. No-shows hurt F&B outlets, especially during busy game days. You may be turning walk-ins away because you expect a reservation to show up, but you’re actually holding tables for guests who aren’t coming. Every minute that a table sits empty is a lost opportunity to generate revenue.
Equip your F&B venues with a reservations solution that sends reminders. SevenRooms automatically confirms and reminds guests about bookings with two-way email and SMSes. If guests can no longer make it, they can quickly and easily cancel their booking with a few taps, and free up their table for someone else.
4. Make More Money From Each Table
Your F&B venues have a finite capacity. That being said, you can generate more money per table when you seat guests strategically, rather than assigning parties to the first table that opens up.
While making the most of each table is critical on game and event days, playing table Tetris when dozens of customers are waiting to be seated isn’t a good idea. Fortunately, artificial intelligence can help you assign guests to the table that will generate the most revenue.
SevenRooms uses AI to test tens of thousands of seating combinations per second to help you generate additional dollars for the same seats.
5. Make Waiting Engaging
Stadiums and other sports venues have captive audiences. If guests want to eat, they don’t really have a choice of going elsewhere once they’re on the premises. However, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to create the best experience possible for them.
If there’s a wait at your F&B outlets, use it as an opportunity to manage expectations and sell more. With SevenRooms’ virtual waitlist, guests can see when their table will be ready and check out the menu.
6. Collect Payment In Advance for F&B
Collect prepayment to reserve a seat at your venue’s F&B outlets on the biggest game and event days of the year. Doing so ensures you’re doing all you can to maximize revenue and reduce no-shows. With SevenRooms, you can securely collect payment through your website.
7. Know Your Regulars
When you get to know your season pass holders, you can anticipate their needs, give personalized recommendations and keep them coming back for years to come. Getting to know your guests may seem impossible when you work at a large sports venue. However, with the right technology, you can collect guest data automatically and use it to inform service.
When you can easily find a guest’s past order history, spending habits, preferences and dietary restrictions on their customer profile, you can personalize service and better cater to their needs. SevenRooms uses auto tags to automatically add new information to guest profiles.
8. Give VIPs the Star Treatment
While every regular should be treated like a VIP, special guests need to be given the star treatment. The first step to taking care of VIPs is identifying them.
When you use a customer relationship management (CRM) platform like SevenRooms, your team instantly knows when an important guest checks in. SevenRooms can send Apple Watch notifications to key staff members when a VIP enters the venue. With real-time alerts, your staff can step in and do what they do best.
9. Enforce Spend Minimums
Another way to ensure each cover generates as much revenue as possible is to set spending minimums during major events. When you integrate your POS with SevenRooms, enforcing spending minimums becomes easy. This integration lets your team see how much each table is spending in real time, so they can gently remind guests when it’s time to order more.
Wrapping Up: What Is Sports Venue Management?
Sports venue management is the art of running your venue more efficiently. Operating a sports venue is an exciting, lucrative undertaking. Dining and drinking outlets at these venues are getting more attention than ever and attracting guests who are looking to do more than just catch a game.
Sports venue management software like SevenRooms can help your venue’s F&B outlets generate more revenue per seat. Request your demo today.
FAQs on Sports Venue Management
1. What Is the Role of a Venue Manager?
Venue managers hire, train, schedule and supervise in-house staff such as ushers, bartenders, box office employees, maintenance personnel and security. They also keep track of the safety and cleanliness of the facility or stadium, and ensure proper maintenance of in-house gear and equipment.
2. Why Use Venue Management Software?
Venue management software can help market your venue as a major selling point for events. This can help you book more attendees, increase sales and spend less time on admin. Venue management software eliminates the busy work behind planning an event and lets users get straight to increasing awareness and sales for their company.