Pitch Perfect

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Cincinnati Reds fans can now avoid the lines at the concession stands, and instead use Ballpark Express Mobile Order Pick-Up Stations to get food and drinks ordered through the MLB Ballpark app.

Two Ballpark Express stations launched in September 2017, made possible through a partnership between the Reds, food and beverage provider Delaware North Sportservice and Apex Supply Chain Technologies.

Customers place an order through the app, which uses two-sided mobile order pickup technology from Apex. The system alerts concession employees to the order, who prepare and place it in the stations.

Customers receive an alert when their order is ready, as well as a bar code that provides access to the compartment holding their food and drinks. Locker units containing alcohol are flagged with a special bar code, says Don Dierig, Delaware North’s general manager at the Reds’ ballpark. A trained Alcohol Ambassador remains by each station and verifies the identification of any fans purchasing alcohol before their lockers will open.

Scoreboard messages, videos, signage and other marketing within the park boosted awareness of the system, and Dierig says one key to the project’s success was flexibility. “From the initial project meetings to the official launch, details were constantly changing, and all parties involved needed to be open to the changes for the concept to be successful.”

The efforts are proving successful. “The response has been overwhelmingly positive,” says Reds COO Phil Castellini. “The ability to order from MLB’s Ballpark App and pick up items yourself and not have to wait in lines are exactly what fans are looking for.” A third station will open this year.

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