Solving Staffing Issues With Smart Stadium Technology at Sports & Entertainment Venues

Stadium technology has come a long way, baby. The stadium of the future is here, and it’s engaging fans and helping solve staffing challenges.

Sports and entertainment venues have not been immune to the staff recruitment challenges facing businesses everywhere. Whereas restaurants and other hospitality providers can limit service and/or reduce open hours to deal with shortages, these tactics are not an option for stadiums, which must be fully staffed in order for an event such as a game or concert to occur. 

Sports and entertainment venue operators are looking to create the stadium of the future, today. To meet attendance goals and encourage repeat visits, they’re turning to a range of stadium technology solutions to overcome staffing challenges. Besides benefiting the operator and fans, these ‘stadium of the future’ technologies can also improve the work environment for employees, which can lead to higher satisfaction and better retention rates. The same stadium technologies that can help Venue operators address staff shortages can also deliver amazing fan-pleasing food and beverage service—especially when the stadium technologies are supplied by a single vendor, avoiding the finger-pointing that can occur with multiple vendors should something go awry.

Let’s check out what these stadium technology solutions are and how they deliver the win-win for sports and entertainment venues.


Self-order puts ordering and payment in the hands of the fan. By installing self-order kiosks, one Xenial customer, a large international sandwich chain, reduced staffing requirements by one employee during peak hours. Kiosks are not meant to replace frontline workers, but they can become an operator’s right hand. Kiosk orders are inherently ‘accuracy checked’ by the guest, which means the operator avoids returns and food waste.

How kiosks boost sales 

Guests take their time to browse the menu and consider add-ons. Empowered to make their own selections privately, guests avoid prying eyes and ears, and are more likely to select add-ons. Finally, kiosks can be programmed to automatically offer upsells and add-ons. They do this tirelessly, without fail. 

What kiosks can mean for operators: 

  • Average ticket can increased by 15 to 20%.
  • Service times reduced by 20 seconds or more.
  • Order accuracy complaints dropped by >400%.
  • One Xenial customer had their staff turnover drop to zero percent (you read that right) after implementing Xenial kiosks.

Grab and Go

Grab, scan, pay, enjoy. These four simple steps have become commonplace everywhere from airports to truck stops to grocery stores. It’s no wonder grab and go is a popular option with venue fans wanting to get back to their seat to see the next big play. Grab and go results in faster checkout than even a self-order kiosk. That’s because kiosk ordering often allows the fan to make modifications to whatever they are ordering.

What grab and go can mean for venue operators:

  • Very rapid checkout to keep the line moving.
  • Repurposes staff, since grab and go is inherently self-service.
  • Tends to increase average check when a location is merchandised with impulse items.
  • Rapid ROI.

Self-Service Mobile Ordering

Like kiosks, self-service ordering using a mobile app or progressive web app transfers the ordering, payment, and accuracy checking tasks to the fan. This frees up venue staff to fulfill other hospitality tasks. By ordering ahead and receiving notification (or in-seat delivery) when their order is ready, fans avoid missing important moments by avoiding lines.

How mobile ordering boosts sales

Online orders are typically placed on a customer's phone, a device that they are the most familiar and comfortable with. They take time to browse the menu, special offers, and consider upsells at their leisure. Average ticket size is larger, not only for these reasons, but also because people tend to use this channel to order for family members and friends in attendance.

What mobile ordering can mean for venue operators:

  • Improves fan experiences by keeping them in their seat and out of lines.
  • Serves as a ready-made marketing channel.
  • Provides opportunities for push notifications for offers, retail shop coupons, etc.
  • Increases ticket size.
  • Meets customers where they are.

Order Fulfillment and Kitchen Management

Increasingly, venues need to rely on innovative order and kitchen management systems. This is because of the growing number of ordering channels feeding into the kitchen, and also because fans want to avoid missing important moments. 

Today’s order queuing and kitchen management systems better manage the myriad channels and enable order-ahead, facilitating order scheduling. They streamline fulfillment and enable predictive cooking. Fans benefit from better experiences and staff benefit from less stress and fewer ‘hangry’ fans. 

What a connected kitchen fulfillment system can mean for venue operators:

  • Manage kitchen operations and throughput.
  • Get fans served and back to their seats more quickly.
  • Fans that have great experiences are more likely to return, bring friends, and even purchase season tickets.

Home Run Closing Thoughts

Today’s tech gives owners and operators ‘more bang for their buck’ and rapid ROI by solving multiple challenges, including the ones that keep leaders awake at night. Xenial helps sports and entertainment venue operators delight guests and improve the bottom line. Contact us to discuss your specific needs and how we can help.