There is such an opportunity for the kiosks to be given a major overhaul and enhance what food and drink gets served inside the ground. The kiosks we have look tired, unappealing and seem to have changed little in 20+ years.
Even on gates of around one third stadium capacity, there are queues at “peak” times and aside from the “famous” chicken balti pie, what you can actually purchase is limited and pretty average fare on the hot food, snacks and drinks front.
These could be transformed with just some basic creative thinking and tapping into local culinary skills. In terms of basic traditional football club hot food (sausage rolls, pies, hot dogs etc.), how about upgrading the quality and variety, e.g. bacon and proper sausages cooked for rolls, freshly made pizza slices, pork and stuffing cobs, good quality hot dogs with onions. Then a couple of “street food” options each match - chicken curry or chilli con carne and rice maybe. Even a basic jacket potato with a filling.
In terms of snacks, how about home-made cake / biscuit options. Doesn’t need to be fancy, just a simple shortbread or chocolate brownie, for example.
The kiosks themselves are not even that functional - the staff looked cramped in them and the opening where you order is so small that queues build up behind. I would replace them with something much more inviting and where the “hatch” is much wider - whilst you wait there would be room for the person behind to place their order and hand over the cash, rather than the one person at the kiosk squeeze we currently have. There must be some portable/pod-style designs out there that could be bought to replace the current ones.
Also, put one server on drinks only duties and another on hot food. This will reduce the queues building up and reduce the frustration for those who simply want a drink or a chocolate bar.
I don’t know what the management and operational arrangements are for our current kiosk catering but how about consideration of a social enterprise or profit-share type business model, whereby the club markets the opportunity for a local caterer to put forward a proposal to transform the catering offer. The caterer pays a levy (in effect a rent) but the onus is on them to come up with better and wider quality food and drinks options and it’s in their interest to provide good quality service as they can take a share of profits and an agree % of profit gets invested into local football-in-the-community activities. Existing staff could be transferred into the new business but may need some re-training in customer service and the new supplier would provide training and supervision and get feedback from us to help ensure quality of food/drink and service is maintained.
Finally, how about a radical option of having a touch screen based ordering system - place your order from your seat (on a phone app) or on a touchscreen in the queue. Someone makes up your order, you go and collect. This would presumably also help to manage stock, as an integrated system would alert the overall supervisor as to what stock was running low at any one kiosk at any time and supplies could then be replenished quickly.
- Replace kiosks
- Widen food and drink offer
- Improve quality of offer
- Make use of local produce and culinary expertise
- Pre-order facility
- Up-skill staff
- Profit share between operator and club’s community activities