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A Rain Delay Isn't a Washout with Zippin...

Bonnie Milam Aug 15, 2023 7:00:00 AM

Outdoor festivals are one of the highlights of summer. They’re a kaleidoscope of music, people, food, and experiences that bring joy to all the fans. Part of the excitement of these live shows is that you never know exactly what’s going to happen. That includes the weather, which can be unpredictable, too. The heat and humidity of summer nights create the perfect recipe for a potential thunderstorm. 

Festival organizers are all too familiar with the possibility of downpours or thunderstorms interrupting the show. Experience dictates that it’s important to plan for storms even while hoping for good weather. This is precisely what the Aramark team at Empower Field at Mile High did a few weeks ago when lightning struck during the Global Dance Festival.

Colorado’s Largest Summer Festival

Global Dance Festival is a huge, 2-day music event held in the stadium parking lot that attracts upwards of 10,000 fans. Like most summer nights in Colorado, there was a chance of storms in the forecast for July 21st. The Aramark team devised a contingency plan - if weather interrupted the show, open a Zippin-powered concession stand. This approach would help feed hungry fans forced indoors to shelter from the storm. As a precaution, they stocked the store before the show began.  

A few hours into the festival, the skies opened up and the rain came pouring down. Because the outdoor stages and structures were metal with a lot of electrical equipment, when lightning was detected in the area, fans were able to seek shelter on the concourses to wait out the storm. Then, the magic of checkout-free shopping happened.

Zippin Serves Sheltering Fans

Aramark rolled up the gates to the Zippin-powered store. In no time, fans were flying through the store and buying drinks and snacks.  With checkout-free, fans simply tap a card to enter, grab what they want, and zip out. On average, the store processed five orders a minute throughout the storm delay. Then, just as quickly as it had started, the storm stopped. A mere thirty-seven minutes of rain and the event was able to continue. Fans filed back out to the stages, the music started, and the dancing ensued. 


Traditional Stands Not up to the Task

What if Empower Field at Mile High didn’t have a checkout-free store? Let’s consider what would have happened during a 30-minute rain delay. It takes almost an hour to get a traditional concession stand staffed and ready to open. Before the traditional stand could even make the first sale, it would be shutting down. Fans wouldn’t be able to grab refreshments while waiting out the storm, and the venue would not have made any sales.  

Expecting the Unexpected

Beyond providing fast and convenient shopping, checkout-free stores offer tremendous flexibility. Operators can open these stores essentially by flipping a switch, and the throughput is 50% - 80% higher (or more) than traditional stores. So, even when stores are only open for a short period of time, they can be highly profitable. And, while store ambassadors employed to assist fans can improve store performance, checkout-free stores can run autonomously if necessary. The 2023 Global Dance Festival isn’t the first outdoor concert to be impacted by weather, and it certainly won’t be the last. Zippin can help any venue that hosts outdoor events gain the flexibility to react to unexpected weather. Fans will have a better experience despite the weather, and venues will make additional sales along the way.  

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