You’re at the ballpark and you’ve just found your seat when that sweet smell of beer and hot dogs hits you smack in the face. You don’t stand a chance against it; your will to stick with that 2,500-calorie diet is toast. You’re about to make a run for the concession stand to stuff your face when your favorite player steps up to the plate with two on and two out. Either that hot dog is gonna wait, or you’re gonna miss the game.
The people at Munchly are about to solve your conundrum in a rather simple, but genius way.
In a matter of months, select sporting venues and movie theaters will begin a pilot program allowing patrons to order from concession stands with their smart phones. Certain venues will then deliver your grub to your seat, and some will alert you when your order has been filled so that you can run up and grab it. No more waiting on lines.
Yeah, I know, you want to throw a brick at your computer screen and scream, “Why didn’t I think of that!” Sorry, Greg Pelly and Andrew Tider, the co-founders of Munchly, beat you to it. I had a chance to view a demonstration of the Munchly application at the New York Tech Meetup earlier this month. Besides being hilarious with their routine, which is part demonstration, part comedy act, they basically had the room saying, “About damn time!”
When I spoke with Greg and Andrew, they had an interesting take on the application they’d built. They called it “brain dead simple for the user and the person behind the counter.” And that’s the key here: Instead of complicated and costly computer software, all the concession stand needs is a receipt printer. Everything else takes place in the cloud, where the order is routed and payment is processed.
Munchly will collect royalties -- a dollar or two per order from the user or from the venue. Seeing as there are about 134 million stadium attendees in the U.S. and Canada per year, who spend on average $4.50 per visit for concessions, I’d say they have a pretty good business model here. As consumers, we’re used to overpaying for stuff at sporting events. What does a hot dog at Yankee Stadium cost these days, $10? It’s outrageous, but we suck it up and pay. I’m pretty sure people will throw down another dollar or two.
So why hasn’t this been done before? The answer is most likely that we have reached a tipping point in the saturation of smart phones owned by Americans. Half of us now own one, and that allows Munchly to make their case to the venues that a majority of their customers will want this experience. Personally, my iPhone has become an indispensable tool; I would be completely lost without it. From maps to news to social networking to ordering movie tickets to trading stocks to listening to music, my phone is omnipresent in my life. This is just one more use that will likely go from beyond-cool to what-did-we-ever-do-without-it.
Now someone needs to create an app for wiping mustard off my keyboard.