INNOVATIVE operational APPROACH YIELDS $350,000 IN SAVINGS AND 16 PERCENT INCREASE IN PER CAPS
ATLANTA, GA – March 9, 2020 – This March, Mercedes-Benz Stadium (MBS) marks a highly successful first year of implementing a stadium-wide cashless transactional model that helped improve fan experience by maximizing efficiency during the point of sale for food, beverage and merchandise items. Globally recognized for its award-winning food and beverage experience with competitive, fan-first pricing and minimal wait times, the stadium disrupted the industry again by becoming the first sports venue in the United States to run a fully cashless operation.
In 2018, MBS slowly and strategically began testing a cashless transaction model to gauge operational efficiencies as well as fan reaction. Results were overwhelmingly positive and MBS leadership made the decision to move forward launching March 2019. Additionally, as part of the launch, MBS included 10 cash to card machines around the stadium for those who prefer not to use their own cards or who prefer to only carry cash. Guests are able to feed the cash into the machine and obtain a pre-paid debit card with the same amount with no transaction fee. These cards can be utilized as any other pre-paid debit card around the stadium, as well as outside the stadium.
MBS’s expected first-year results have been realized, once again locking in the No. 1 spot for food and beverage including speed of service across all NFL venues for the third consecutive year. Due to the new cashless model, roughly 95 percent of fans noticed the same or an increase in speed at concession lines and at peak times a 20-30 second reduction in wait times. Results also include an increase in food and beverage per capita numbers for close to 50 events at MBS through 2019 including a combined 16 percent increase for Atlanta Falcons and Atlanta United all while saving more than $350,000 in operational expenses.
In addition to maintaining the lead in food and beverage, MBS also remains No. 1 in overall safety and security proving cashless to be the safer model in retail and hospitality industries. Since its implementation, more than 20 teams, leagues, universities, entertainment venues and municipalities have followed suit by either announcing they are implementing, testing a version of the cashless transaction model or contacting AMBSE to learn more about the implementation process and its success.
“Our guiding principle has always been serving the fan based on their needs and going cashless has allowed us the flexibility to operate more efficiently and effectively for each event, resulting in both bottom-line cost savings for the organization as well as increased fan experience.” said Steve Cannon, CEO, AMB Sports + Entertainment. “We place so much of our focus on driving innovation to revamp the way fans experience their respective events, so to see other stadiums or organizations follow suit by adopting a cashless model is considered a huge success for us.”
Not only is going cashless a more efficient operation, it also adds to the health and safety of our fans. Cash-handling is known to add a level of health risk to workers and fans providing a healthier environment for all events at MBS is paramount.
Since going cashless, more than 2.5 million guests have attended events at MBS. Of those, only 1.2 percent have used the cash-to-cards kiosks, showing that fans are bringing their own credit cards or using mobile payment options. The stadium also accepts other forms of digital and contactless payments, including Apple Pay, Google Pay and Samsung Pay.