Jaguars improve concessions with ‘lean management’: Next test Saturday at Monster Jam
Despite it being offseason, Jacksonville Jaguars management continues to seek ways to improve the fan experience, with the latest relating to concessions.
Hussain Naqi joined the Jaguars in May as senior vice president of fan experience and earlier this month was promoted to senior vice president of fan engagement.
For three quarters of the Jaguars last home game against the New England Patriots he stood and watched concession stands behind Section 115 being operated using "lean management."
"It was difficult to not jump in when you see something going sideways, but it was part of the process to improve the efficiency of the stand," said Naqi.
Lean management helps create more value for customers with fewer resources, according to the Lean Enterprise Institute. The national organization develops and experiments lean-thinking approaches applicable to the real world, according to its lean.org website.
"When you are a business school student, (lean management) is a core course in operations," Naqi said.
"I have incredible respect for the lean operations in the automotive industry. I thought it would be a real opportunity for us, as the Jaguars, to be cutting edge when it comes to offering our fans the best possible experience," he said.
The Jaguars partnered with Underwriters Laboratories to assess and improve fans' concession experience. Changes include reducing the number of moves each member of the concessions stand crew made to service a sale.
Jerry Bussell is executive adviser for Knowledge Services at Underwriters and assisted the team.
"Jerry came in and videotaped how the stands worked. They put pedometers on people who worked behind the stands. We looked at sales distribution across all the points of sale at these stands," said Naqi.
The result was that — without any direction or guidance — a majority of fans only used three points of sales, even when more cashiers were available.
The result prompted Naqi to deploy temporary crowd-control barriers to steer fans toward the middle of the concession stand so they had a choice of moving right or left when approaching a register to place an order.
"We were able to reduce wait times by minutes and revenues from there were 50 percent higher from where they were at our peak. I think we have only just nicked the iceberg on what we can do with this concept," said Naqi.
The management techniques also helped the stand manager control staff. Each staff member wears a color-coded hat for a particular job area, which helps managers ensure the right people are in the right areas, Naqi said.
The Jaguars will continue tweaking the system before deploying it throughout the stadium. The next test will be Saturday during the Advance Auto Parts Monster Jam.
"Whatever the event, we want to make sure people have a great time when they come to EverBank Field," Naqi said.
Additional improvements to fan experience will include menu options and development of the South End Zone activity area outside of the stadium.
"We intend to have some really aggressive pricing on value meals for our fans. Something in the $5 range, which would include soda and a food item. We haven't decided what that would be yet," said Naqi.