Pittsburgh Penguins Conquer COVID Concerns with Contactless Concessions

March 2020 is a month that will be difficult for anyone to forget for many reasons.  For those in the heart of Pittsburgh, it also meant the last time fans could watch a Penguins game live.

Fast forward to March 2nd, 2021. For the first time in a year, Penguins fans return to PPG Paints Arena, and excitement is in the air.  As the gates open, the fans rush in to a giant “Welcome Back Fans” message on the Jumbotron, and finally, a sense of normalcy has returned.

PPG Paints Arena welcomes back fans

With the smell of the Bavarian pretzels filling the air, fans visit the new “Walk Through Brew” contactless concessions experience. A new concept made possible by Mashgin’s Touchless Self-Checkout System.

Keeping Concessions Quick

Keeping concessions lines short, wait times low, and minimizing human contact are essential to the safety of both fans and arena employees.  With Mashgin, fans’ minds were put at ease.  

The Penguins launched 6 self-checkout locations on March 2 powered by Mashgin’s Touchless Self-Checkout System.  These sections offer a variety of small snacks, water, soda, and beer options. Mashgin identifies items using computer vision, so fan’s aren’t required to scan barcodes at all. Every item rings up at once, so transactions feel instantaneous and lines move quickly.

Fans use Mashgin for contactless concessions

The checkout process is simple. Fans IDs are checked as they walk through the gates of each location and select their preferred snacks and drinks. Then they simply place their items down on Mashgin’s tray and pay as fast as they can ready their credit/debit card or mobile wallet.  This new checkout experience has revolutionized concessions, while keeping the health and  safety of fans and employees as a main focus.

Mashgin's Touchless Checkout System scanning an item

Results That Both Fans and Arenas Love

The results of the Penguins choice to implement Mashgin speak for themselves.  With only 5,000 fans in attendance, the Penguins ran almost 1,000 transactions with an average transaction speed of only 26.29 seconds.  This allowed fans to quickly grab concessions and return to their seats to see the action.

Pittsburgh’s Action News 4 Sports reporter Ryan Recker was able to tour the facility and its exciting new features.  Recker reviewed his experience at the Arena and with David Morehouse, President and CEO here.

Overall, opening day at the PPG Paints Arena was a huge success all around.  The Penguins got a win, the fans were ecstatic to be back, everyone got to see more of the action. With that, a small sense of normalcy has finally returned.

“Walk Through Brews” Smooth Concessions for the Rockies

America’s favorite pastime is back. But this year stadiums and teams are trying to figure out how to bring the magic of opening day – the hot dogs, Cracker Jacks, beer, and high fives during a home run – while still keeping fans and staff safe. However, a challenge created by social distancing measures is the byproduct of long lines for not only entry, but also concessions. 

Enter Mashgin and the Walk Through Brew.

Rockies Fans using Walk Through Brew at Coors Field, powered by Mashgin
Rockies Fans at “Walk Thru Bru” in Coors Field, Powered by Mashgin

“I loved this at the Broncos, so glad it’s come over here too!”

-A devoted Colorado sports fan using Mashgin

Tackling Concessions During COVID-19

The Rockies launched three Walk Through Brew (WTB) locations powered by Mashgin’s Touchless Self-Checkout System. The WTB offers a variety of beers, chips, and other small snacks. Fans grab their items, place them on Mashgin’s tray, and pay – all without touching anything but their own food and form of payment.

Mashgin uses computer vision to instantly ring up everything on the tray, no need to fuss around with barcodes. With such quick transactions, the WTBs offer baseball fans the fastest way to grab their refreshments and get back to their seats without missing any action. 

So what happens when you add a WTB? You get amazing results and even happier fans. Let’s take a look at the Rockies’ Opening Weekend results to see. Opening Day started with a bang coming in around 275.3 transactions per hour with an average transaction speed of 27 seconds. And fans loved their ability to quickly get their beer and catch the action.

I love this! I was in line for 20 minutes at a different stand when some guys walked by and told us about this express station. Every stadium should have this!”

– Meredith, a Denver native
Rockies Fans using Mashgin at Coors Field
“How does it just know?!”

Familiar Fans Buy Faster

So what happens as fans get used to the solution? Speed and satisfaction increase, and the results continue to get better. Opening weekend ended with an average of 309 transactions per hour and an average transaction speed of just 24 seconds.

And those faster transactions mean way less time waiting in line for every fan. Even before the additional precautions around COVID, Mashgin doubled the throughput of concessions in stadiums. That means that fans wait in line half as long, and as a result they buy as much as 34% more concessions per game. Happier fans buy more food.

So here’s to baseball’s return and a season of Mashgin getting fans refreshed with speed, safety, and service.