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AZ Tech Beat | October 23, 2017

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Forget long concession lines, Grub Runner will deliver a hotdog to your seat

Forget long concession lines, Grub Runner will deliver a hotdog to your seat
Travis Arbon

If you’ve ever been to a baseball game, you know the vendors that roam the stands selling lemonade, popcorn and cotton candy. But what if you want something a little different, like pizza or nachos, and you don’t want to leave your seat to stand in line?

Well, startup Grub Runner has a solution for you: in-seat delivery of food and drinks at sporting events, all at the tap of a button.

Grub Runner is a company that provides what CEO Sameer Khan calls an “end-to-end solution” to the problem of concessions at games. Customers can place an order from their phones to vendors within the venue.

The order will be sent through Grub Runner’s system to the vendors and the customer will be given an estimated delivery time. Grub Runner then dispatches a “runner” to pick up the food or drinks from the vendor and bring it directly to the customer’s seat. If a customer is gone when a runner arrives, the runner will try again later to deliver the order. The service makes money through a flat delivery fee attached to purchases.

grub runner collage

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“They’re not there to stand in long lines,” Khan said. “They’re there to have fun and root for their favorite teams. We want to give fans time to be able to do that, and that’s kind of what our mission is- to enhance that fan experience.”

The inspiration for Grub Runner partly came from an experience Khan had while taking his father to a hockey game.grub runner screengrab 2

“Back in his college days, he was a big fan of hockey, but he never actually got a chance to go to a game,” Khan said. “I wanted to make it a special night for him, so we went all out. . . I think that’s really what sports is all about, to bring people together, having a great time and reliving those experiences. But I remember we had to stand in line for 30 to 40 minutes and I figured there has to be a better way to do this and that kind of led to the creation of what we’re doing today.”

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The company is trialling the system at University of Arizona sporting events, and Khan said they’ve found that fans are more likely to make purchases when Grub Runner makes it so easy. The service has also received high marks for customer satisfaction from trial participants, he said.

Perhaps the most impressive part of Grub Runner’s service is the logistical backend that manages the orders and vendors and schedules the runners. Khan said he’s excited about the way the company has been able to handle the challenges of the trial run.

“It’s is a very simple idea, but from an execution standpoint it’s a very challenging task,” Khan said. “You’re catering to a stadium of 20,000 people in a very compressed amount of time-everyone wants their food in twenty minutes or less. We’ve heard people talk about the idea, but the fact that we’ve been able to execute on our service makes us really confident that there’s a market out there and we can do it.”

Screenshots taken from the Grub Runner website