December 1, 2017

Customised equipment should not only be used in a stadium or arena’s permanent concession areas.

Many existing venues - particularly dated structures - require mobile supplemental concessions in unrealised spaces to alleviate long lines and relieve congestion on the main concourse. Consideration must be given to many factors such as allotment for space, traffic patterns, possible exposure to elements, and the architecture of the venue.

Many of Iowa Rotocast Plastics’ (IRP) clientele rely on their expertise in designing around existing interior structures, which was the case presented when IRP was asked to design kiosks and carts for Yankee Stadium in New York City.

Two large U-shaped kiosks, comprised of multiple connecting carts with no headers due to height restrictions, were required to work within high-traffic zones on the 300 Level. Because of the challenge presented by the footprint of a central stairway, one of the kiosks was comprised of eight interlocking carts and was designed to wrap around the underside of the staircase.

In this particular project the Yankees were able to capitalise on underutilised space, provide a more convenient concession point of sale for spectators, and increase food and beverage revenue.

US Bank Stadium

It is also a common occurrence for a new venue to underestimate the need for additional concession points until it begins hosting events.

IRP supplied fabricated concessionaire equipment to the state-of-the-art US Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, MN, home of the Vikings.

IRP’s contribution to US Bank Stadium ranged from the typical beverage offerings (craft draft, liquor, bottle, combo) to speciality carts such as popcorn carts, farmers market cooler kiosks, and support and sink carts.

After US Bank Stadium was officially completed and hosting events, additional mobile concessionaire equipment was ordered for the plaza, concourse, and hospitality suites.

IRP supplied ADA support carts, packaged beverage carts, bottle carts, a liquor bar, and a foodservice bar, all of which coordinated with the design scheme of the existing IRP equipment. The decision to purchase supplemental equipment after analysing the demand minimised wait times, capitalised on additional points of sale, and ensured the needs of the spectators were being met.

The US Bank project was a milestone project for IRP, as US Bank Stadium is the first stadium to receive equipment designed with the new “Lift-Assist” technology, IRP’s patent-pending innovation in the field of mobile equipment manufacturing.

This revolutionary new feature has multiple implications for stadiums and arenas- the technology will enable vendors to effortlessly raise and lower the headers and canopies on their carts as needed for storage and mobility, and will also ensure that any venue employee, regardless of stature or physical strength, will be able to comfortably raise and lower the canopy or header without assistance. 

This feature not only adds functional value, but an aesthetic benefit as well. The 3-inch diameter round pole design creates a sleek appearance by reducing the number of support columns from four to two. 

It eliminates pins, screws, and traditional telescoping support columns, and can support a header weighing up to 200 pounds. Traditional telescoping headers of this magnitude would require up to four people to lift or lower; with IRP’s Lift-Assist a header can be raised and lowered by a single person. 

This technology can be incorporated into virtually any cart design for food and beverage equipment. Furthermore, if the carts need to be transported from one venue to another, the header or canopy will not have to be fully removed and reattached, thus saving the venue time and money on costly labour. 

Unique projects, many of which call for one-off designs, require highly skilled labour every step of the way, from inception right the way through to fabrication. 

The finished design may serve as a visual representation of the labor-intensive process, but in many cases the true challenge comes not from the design itself, but implementing the design in a way that will allow for shipping, mobility of the cart or kiosk in the destination venue, breakdown of headers and canopies, and overall intended function. 

In tune

A notable example of this was the project completed for the Minnesota Orchestra in Minneapolis, MN. 

IRP was approached to design a retail kiosk after Greg Geiger, Manager of Concert Enhancements-Concessions and Special Events, received a referral from US Bank Stadium. The overall aesthetic design was the first crucial element. 

IRP’s in-house team of engineers and designers felt it was imperative that the kiosk should draw inspiration from the architecture of the space and pair seamlessly with the thematic design elements of the orchestra lobby. 

Furthermore, the kiosk was required to be mobile to allow for versatility of placement, have slat wall for adjustable hooks and shelving, two LED display monitors, and an illuminated glass display area in the counter. 

The challenge presented was creating a design that would fit all of the criteria and also be lockable. 

The final design featured two separate units; a rounded-front counter unit and backwall unit, both of which could be folded inward and locked when not in use. 

By using a 360-degree design approach the kiosk is aesthetically pleasing from every angle, regardless if it is closed or open. 

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