(from SportsBusiness Journal, September 2, 2013)
Aramark is a leader in professional services. The company provides food services, facilities management, and uniform and career apparel to health care institutions, universities and school districts, stadiums and arenas, and businesses around the world. In mid-July, Aramark was contracted to serve as Soldier Field’s food service provider.
As the first phase of a three-year plan to upgrade general concessions and premium dining at the stadium, Aramark installed new point-of-sale technology. Employees can now use tablets to process all food and drink transactions at Chicago Bears games, concerts, and other events.
Over 500 tablets replaced Soldier Field’s old countertop registers. Each tablet sits in a cradle and is synced to a cash drawer underneath the counter. Amy Cross, Aramark’s Chief Information Officer, stated that this technology enables Aramark to send real-time information to its managers’ mobile phones every 15 minutes so they can replenish concession stands and make other adjustments.
The tablets are also enabled with a kitchen display system for specialty stands to track the progress of an order and a “built-in alert system to notify Aramark officials of any breakdowns in the preparation of a food item.”
“Putting the point-of-sale system in quickly was the first step,” stated Chris Hibbs, the Bears’ vice president of sales and marketing. “But just seeing [Aramark’s General Manager] Brad Pernaw walk around the stadium looking at an app on his phone to find out how things are selling is a gigantic step forward on how to understand the technology and where it fits in with food and beverage.”
The tablets offer flexibility and innovation. Staff workers can easily remove the tablet from its cradle and assist people standing further back in the line. Aramark has future plans to incorporate a system where fans actually place their own orders into the tablets.
The system is evolving and Aramark has responded. Carl Mittleman, Aramark’s Denver-based Regional Vice President, states, “Wherever the industry goes, this goes with it.”