Food concession trends increase delivery standards for distributors

Managers of food distribution companies who invest in advanced logistics software will likely have a much easier time organizing their operations as public and private firms around the nation work together to provide fresh concessions to large numbers of people in public spaces. Whether at a local football stadium or an airport, the ability to deliver food ingredients on time while keeping costs relatively low can work to the advantage of any business in the transportation industry.

As the National Football League season continues throughout the U.S., many stadiums are coming up with new ways to encourage ticket purchases. According to data compiled by ESPN, a majority of the league's teams have averaged more than 60,000 spectators per home game. The Dallas Cowboys, the New York Giants and the Washington Redskins have each attracted more than 80,000 per game. Feeding such a large number of people is a challenge that requires a high level of organization on the part distributors responsible for delivering food every week in anticipation of games.

Finding new ways to fill seats
A recent article in Fox Sports said despite the large attendance numbers at many NFL stadiums, advancements in in-home viewing have proved a major threat to ticket sales. This year, 10 teams have failed to fill seats to more than 95 percent of venue capacity. At this point in the season in 2008, there were only five teams having such issues. As a result, the many of these athletic organizations are considering investing in sweeping renovations. For example, the Cleveland Browns are currently planning a $120 million investment that focuses almost exclusively on the fan experience. In addition to new scoreboards and video screens, the team will also make improvements to the concessions area along the outer perimeter of the field.

A focus on fresher ingredients
According to the lifestyle blog Care2, many stadiums have also made concerted efforts to provide a wider variety of food options to fans who attend games. Specifically, the website highlighted 10 teams that offer an abundance of vegetarian choices in addition to hamburgers, hot dogs and the usual offerings. Similar trends are also occurring at scholastic athletic organizations. Superior Telegram, a newspaper published in Superior, Wis., said the local school board has approved a measure that would allow the food service company responsible for providing food at high school football games to partner with local restaurants and businesses.

When concession stands focus on preparing dishes with fresh ingredients, the need for fast, reliable deliveries from food distributors becomes especially important. Fleet managers can utilize truck dispatch software to organize assignments, schedule pickups and deliveries, and ultimately eliminate the risk of damaging perishable food ingredients due to traffic jams or missed deadlines. As local businesses become involved in the confessions process, routing software can also help identify the safest and most efficient paths for delivery every week.

It's not just sporting events that can benefit from consistent transportation operations. Virtually any public space that experiences a heavy amount of foot traffic on a daily basis will have some form of concession service to provide food and refreshments. Airports, which are often far-removed from central urban districts, can especially benefit from swift deliveries of fresh ingredients.Phoenix Business Journal said the city council has returned to a construction project for the Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport that would include extending the contract for the current concessions vendor in Terminal 3. The project had initially been shelved due to economic setbacks from the Great Recession. As the city recovers, the Phoenix City Council has shown a renewed interest in completing the airport renovation.

The success of any food distribution company relies on a variety of external factors. For example, weather events, traffic and fuel costs can all affect the time it takes to transport ingredients from regional depots to target locations. With the help of automated fleet software, managers can easily avoid the negative effects from these uncontrollable variables. The standards for punctuality will only increase as concessions companies aim to generate more revenue by preparing higher-quality, perishable ingredients. Fleet owners who are able to satisfy this new need will likely experience a positive impact on long-term business growth.