The Yakima Valley Pippins have partnered with the Montreal tech start-up Chatler to create a real-time ordering and delivery service for ballpark concession favorites for the 2019 West Coast League season. Fans will be able to use Facebook Messenger to place and pay for orders that will be delivered directly to their seats.
Chatler has utilized chatbot technology, allowing fans to order food right from their seat in the ballpark, pay via secure credit card transaction through the app, and track – step-by-step – the delivery of their order right to the time it arrives to their seats. The bot will close out the transaction when the food is delivered, and even allow the customer to tip the server that delivers the food. For customers familiar with technology like Door Dash and Uber Eats, it is similar in nature – and convenience – but within a ballpark setting. The difference is that customers won’t have to download a unique app, nor create an account to order food – they can simply search for “Chatler” in Facebook Messenger to begin the process. Chatler representatives selected the Facebook Messenger platform because of it’s compatibility with chatbot technology and because, according to TechCrunch, more than 1 billion people in the world use Facebook Messenger, so it is a platform that consumers already know how to use.
“Our goal is to provide a memorable customer service experience night in and night out,” said team president Zachary Fraser. “The ability to order ballpark staples from your seat – no need to wait for a server to take your order – and have it delivered provides a premium experience throughout additional neighborhoods in our ballparks.”
The Chatler app and runner team will not replace servers in the ballpark to premium seat locations. It is intended instead to supplement and to extend the locations throughout the stadium that delivery service can be provided. For the 2019 season, in order to ensure that the program can work as intended and improve customer experience rather than harm it, the menu will be limited to the top 6-8 selling items – hot dogs, peanuts, soda, water, a few beer items, and select candy treats. Premium seat locations will still have waiter service with the full menus available – including full beer and wine selections and expanded meal choices.
“We are always seeking out ways to help people have more fun at the stadium,” said Pippins director of hospitality Andy Jones, who is overseeing setup of the ballpark food and beverage. “If we can eliminate a wait for a quick beer, and allow you to still watch the game with your friends and family, we’ve helped you have more fun!
“Don’t worry – when you are ready to wander, we still have great ice cream, local treats, and craft beers to keep the good times going.”
The genesis for Chatler came from the frustration of waiting nearly a full period for concessions – and missing the action on the ice – at a Montreal Canadiens game. The founders of Chatler started to discuss and brainstorm ways that they could develop a different solution, and the result was the app.
“We’re excited and delighted to launch with the Pippins this summer,”, said Chatler’s president Sebastien Audet. “We had one goal in mind when building Chatler: eliminate concession lines. Attending a baseball game is a social experience. It’s all about spending quality time with friends and family. Searching for a concession and standing in a line takes away that precious time. Enjoy the game, order from your seat without downloading another mobile app.”
Information on how to use Chatler will be available on the team website the last week of May – prior to Opening Day, with menus and pricing – and the app will be tested at the pre-season exhibition game scheduled June 1, 2019 vs. the Seattle Studs (BUY TICKETS TO THE EXHIBITION GAME). Additionally, Chatler representatives will have how-to cards to pass along at the gate on Opening Day (BUY TICKETS TO OPENING DAY).