Saturday, September 14, 2013

Next Victim of Technology: The Stadium Hot-Dog Vendor

The food isn’t always fresh or affordable, yet the roving vendor shouting “Peanuts!” or “Beer Here!” is a timeless cultural fixture at stadiums across the country, where millions of Americans have experienced the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat.
Perhaps not for much longer, though.

MasterCard (MA) is rolling out a digital app called QkR (pronounced “quicker”) that, among other things, could streamline the process of ordering food at a stadium. It’s currently being tested at Yankee Stadium in New York, in Section 130 (field level, left-field line, regular ticket price $83-$105). The system is already up and running in stadiums in Ireland and Australia, and it’s based on technology that’s essentially proven. So it seems likely to catch on in American venues unless fans reject it.
The MasterCard technology would civilize the current unruly system. From your seat, you’d use the QkR app on your smartphone to scan one of those puzzle-like quick-response codes on the seatback in front of you. That would call up the stadium’s concession menu and indicate where, exactly, you’re sitting. You’d tap on your phone to order your hot dog, pretzel, beer or gelatinous nacho dip. Your order would materialize at a nearby concession stand, and the charge would be billed to your MasterCard account. A runner would deliver the food to your seat once it’s ready.

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