Ordering food at Minute Maid Park just got a lot easier. No lines!
If you read this blog even semi-regularly, you probably know by now we love to talk about food. Not just food, but specifically, Minute Maid Park food, which offers everything from standard ballpark fare to comfort food to some of the best Tex-Mex in town.
So it’s only fitting that an ever-evolving concession menu would also ebb and flow as modern technology continues to make more of a presence at Major League ballparks. The Astros’ newest venture allows fans to order food right from their seats, using nothing but a smart phone.
The Astros, ARAMARK and MLB Advanced Media recently introduced the launch of Express Line, a way to order food from an iPhone using the MLB.com At Bat application. Minute Maid Park is the first MLB ballpark to debut the Express Line pick up service and the second to use this mobile food ordering service.
On Monday, we decided to try it out. I solicited the help of Steve Reese, the Astros’ Senior Director of Information Technology — a logical partner in crime, considering he understands all the high-tech mumbo jumbo that the rest of us often struggle to decipher.
And wouldn’t you know — the process is as easy as one-two-three. You can see our tutorial video here, or, you can follow these simple instructions:
1. Download the MLB.com At Bat from the App Store;
2) Choose Astros as your favorite team;
3) Select “Minute Maid Park;”
4) Select “Order Food.”
Your screen will show the concession stand to closest proximity to where you’re sitting, and you can then choose from all of the available menu items. Your order will be securely processed — credit card numbers are not stored.
Once your order is processed, you will be alerted via text message that your food is ready for immediate pick-up at the specially-designated Express Line concession locations.
Ordering food via At Bat does not require a pre-authorized account prior to beginning the purchase process. There is a 99-cent convenience fee.
Here are the concession stands where you can order from based on their seating location at Minute Maid Park: Princes at 134: Sections 125-156; Princes at 418: Sections 305-322 and 405– 422; Goya at 119: Sections 116-124; Union Station at 113: Sections 100-114; Extreme Dog/Kickin Nacho at 427: Sections 323-338 and 423-438.
Our test-run took about five minutes from start to finish, which included deciding what we wanted to order, ordering the food, getting the notification that it’s ready and picking up the order.
The app is offered through the iPhone only, but an Android app should be available by July.
The new food ordering app is just one of many new features offered at Minute Maid Park this year that involve exclusive content and social media interaction. The others:
* Check-in: Accessible two hours prior to every scheduled home game, fans can check-in at Minute Maid Park and deliver personal messages instantly across Twitter and Facebook.
* Offers: Unlock special offers, discounts and rewards exclusively available to fans using At Bat at Minute Maid Park.
* My Profile: Tracks individual activity history, showing the number of games attended, ballparks visited, teams seen and teams’ records in those games, among other customizable options.
* Venue Maps: View venue maps and complete concession menus. The maps and directories utilize the pinch-and-zoom functionality of iPhone for zoom in and out features ability across the entire venue map, allowing fans to quickly identify and navigate locations for concessions, restrooms, first aid stations, ATMs, souvenirs and customer service representatives.
* Social Media: Fans also can engage in Facebook Connect and the community of 140-character conversations in-and-around Minute Maid Park with Twitter. In addition to being able to send messages directly from within the App, fans can read Tweets coming from the ballpark, as determined by geolocation technology, from other fans using designated hashtags (#astros) and from followers’ replies to the original messages.
* Video Highlights: The in-game video highlight experience within MLB.com At Bat has been enhanced exclusively for fans that have a verified check-in by offering a set of bonus in-game highlights exclusively for that individual game.
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