No more waiting for a referee’s whistle to grab a drink at the game — Ryan MacGregor has created a way to dodge the line.
He’s the CEO and founder of Sweet Seat, a free smart-phone application letting fans order food, drinks, and merchandise through a mobile device.
Users select the venue, choose food, beverages, or merchandise, then input the seat number and credit card information.
While checking out, a 10% convenience fee is added.
A concession worker delivers the goods and a receipt is e-mailed.
CFL and North American Soccer League fans can expect to use the app when teams are playing in Ottawa in 2014.
“The plan is to obviously be a big part of the Lansdowne project,” MacGregor said.
The app is used at the GreyHawk Golf Club in Cumberland and a partnership has been formed with ClubLink, owner of 44 golf clubs, to have food ready for pickup at the end of a round.
MacGregor, 30, of Carleton Place, came up with the idea two years ago while bartending at Bert’s sports bar in Scotiabank Place.
Friends would text him their food orders during Senators games, then collect it during a break.
He thought, ‘there’s got to be a better way to do this,’ and began researching.
“It was never really a plan to start my own business,” said MacGregor.
“I was looking for any reason to not do it, really.”
After polling bar patrons, a plan was hatched with an executive team, including former NHL goalie Fred Brathwaite and one-time OHL player Cody Spicer.
They ran a pilot project at the outdated Civic Centre from December 2011 to March 2012.
“It was a great spot to start — we started with the hardest venue,” said MacGregor, adding they received an “unbelievable response.”
With the support of Ottawa 67’s owner Jeff Hunt and Sheryl Hunt, the group was introduced to all OHL teams.
“Our fans loved the in-seat service — I think they are on to something. This is the way of the future,” said Jeff Hunt.
They’re now operating at the Budweiser Gardens in London, as well as venues in Saginaw, MI, and Rockford, IL.
“We went live this weekend,” said MacGregor.
He said he eventually wants the app in NHL arenas but “you don’t jump right to the big leagues,” MacGregor said.
With almost 1,000 smartphone users, MacGregor noted the service can also be used through the website.
For example, businesses wooing clients with tickets can send beer from home.
Likewise, parents could buy T-shirts for their children instead of handing over cash.