Speed of Service: How the Pitch Clock is Changing Concessions

If you’re a baseball fan, you know everyone is talking about the pitch clock this year.

If you’re not a fan, here’s a quick rundown of the news.

2023 MLB Pitch Clock Rules

The time to play a major league baseball game has steadily risen in the 100+ years of the league. By 2014, games were consistently over three hours. So, to “speed up the game,” the pitch clock was reintroduced. With the new rule, pitchers will have 15 seconds to throw a pitch when bases are empty and 20 seconds to throw when a runner is on base.

When the pitch clock was tested during the minor league’s 2022 season, games were down by an average of 20 minutes. However, in the first few weeks of the MLB season of 2023, the average game time has dropped 31 minutes.

What Do The New Pitch Clock Rules Mean For Concessions Revenue?

image of pitcher about to throw laying in the grass | baseball concessions pitch clock food and beverage carts and kiosks

Early data, as well as a peek into receipts from the minor league’s 2022 season with the pitch clock, suggests that the increased speed of the game will not significantly impact overall concessions revenue. However, there’s still a lot of baseball left to be played, so time will tell (no pun intended!).

Some stadiums have already changed their alcohol rules to accommodate the faster game. Traditionally, many teams sold beer and other alcoholic beverages through the end of the 7th inning. However, the Colorado Rockies, Minnesota Twins, and Texas Rangers recently extended alcohol sales through the end of the 8th inning to compensate for the shorter games.

How Speed of Service Can Help Food Operators Boost Revenue During Shorter Baseball Games

image of tampa bay checkout free store short stop at budweiser porch | grab and go kiosk at baseball stadiums

“Teams and food operators that think they are not capturing sales due to the pitch clock should focus on points of sale and speed of service because there is plenty of time to get fans served multiple times in the new game,” said consultant Mike Plutino, founder and CEO of Food Service Matters. (Venues Now)

In the past, fans who left their seat to purchase concessions may miss a full inning. With today’s faster games, fans who queue up in long concession lines risk missing multiple innings. By improving the speed of service, customers can grab their food and beverages and return to their seats faster.

Some of the ways that food operators can improve the speed of service are by providing more point-of-sale locations for customers to choose from. More concession stands mean that fans have more options and won’t have to wait in long lines for something to eat or drink.

Another way to improve service speed is to deploy more grab-n-go kiosks with either self-checkout or cashier-less technology.

Mashgin, a self-checkout technology provider, operates at 19 MLB stadiums and has reported that so far this season, they have had 310,000 transactions that take less than 18 seconds. Zippin, the technology provider behind the Tampa Bay Ray’s new cashier-less Short Stop store, reported a 66% increase in the speed of service and a 78% increase in revenues at a previous stadium deployment.

How Gallery Carts Can Help Food Operators Beat The Pitch Clock

image of grab-n-go kiosk at Milwaukee Brewers | baseball concessions pitch clock food and beverage carts and kiosks

Gallery Carts has several product solutions that can help food operators at baseball stadiums provide better and faster service during games:

  • A recent Venues Now article stated that hawkers produce 30–35% of total sales in baseball. The Gallery Carts Iceless Hawking System is faster and more efficient than traditional hawking trays. Hawkers no longer have to return to the equipment room for ice and supplies. The system allows hawkers to carry more, have faster transactions, and reload faster.
  • Our Grab-n-Go kiosks come in three styles: cashier, self-checkout, and autonomous (checkout-free). With more kiosks available, baseball fans can grab snacks and beer more quickly without missing out on the game. Many of our food kiosks can be customized to fit in under-utilized spaces.
  • And finally, we work with you to design customized carts and portables that make food service fast, safe, and efficient. Whether providing stand-alone condiment carts to speed up service at checkout or building food preparation stations for unique food offerings, our Gallery Carts solutions will help you increase profitability during today’s faster games.

Want more information? Visit our products page or contact a sales team member to find out how Gallery Carts can help you grow revenue during baseball season.


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