The concessions managed by BYU Dining at Brigham Young's campus sports venues used to be a very loose affair, with fans allowed to bring whatever they wanted in. That of course cut concessions sales significantly.
However, after 9/11, the university decided to close the gates to outside food for security reasons, which made upgrading the previously pedestrian fare served inside an imperative. That's when BYU Dining Director Dean Wright decided the best approach was to bring in outside brands to fill out the concessions lineup. The result: a series of brands — Dippin' Dots, Pita Pit, Snowie, Teriyaki Stix, Costa Vida — that have made both customer satisfaction and sales soar.
“We were not only able to increase the total dollar amount we paid to the athletic department by 400%, but we had enough left from our share of the revenues to install credit card readers in all our permanent concession stands,” boasts Wright. The investment in card readers — made at a time when that technology was only starting to be implemented in concessions — upped sales and check averages further.
“The first year, we averaged seven percent of sales from credit cards,” Wright says. “Last year in football it was 28%, so it certainly was worth the financial investment.”
Football is king when it comes to concessions. Not only does one home football game generate the same concessions sales as the whole basketball season, but football games are prime catering opportunities, with 20 or more banquets and groups of 1,200 at a time mingling in the open air or under tents at each game.
Another initiative made in connection with the athletic department was Legends Grill, a retail fast casual outlet with 11 flat-screen TVs where students can socialize. Located in the student athletic center, it serves an array of grilled items, pizzas and appetizers. Customers order at the window and pick up when their orders are ready. There is no table service.