iPhone lets Phillies fans order a ballpark beer by text

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It's the fullfillment of many a baseball fan's dreams: beer by text.
It's the fullfillment of many a baseball fan's dreams: beer by text.
Photo: Aramark

The Philadelphia Phillies and Aramark started a pilot program that lets fans order beer from their seats using an iPhone.

The service makes use of Apple Business Chat, a service that launched this spring designed to let customers send messages to companies without strings attached.

While at certain Phillies games, all an iPhone-owning fan needs to do is scan a barcode on the seat back in front of them. This will start the Messages app and begin a conversation with Aramark, who provides concessions for Citizens Bank Park. They can then choose from the list of available items, then use Apple Pay to complete the transaction.

“Utilizing Apple Business Chat as an ordering option is a logical next step. By doing so, we’re able to integrate an easily accessible digital technology that enables fans to seamlessly order from their mobile devices while continuing to watch the game or socialize with friends,” said Carl Mittleman, President of Aramark’s Sports & Entertainment Division, in a statement.

As this is just a test, ordering through the Messages app is available only in sections 142, 143, 144 and 145, and is limited to ten Phillies home games (July 20-25, August 2-5). There is no Android version.

More about Apple Business Chat

Although ordering beer by text seems like a dream, many people are reluctant to contact companies with text messages. They don’t want to reveal their phone number and open them themselves up to text spam.

Business Chat is safe. Being an Apple product, it protects the user’s privacy.  The official description points out “Only you can start a conversation. And when you do, the company can’t see personal information, like your name or phone number, unless you choose to share it.”

This add-on to Messages is still in beta, even if it’s built into every iOS version since 11.3. Even as the finishing touches are going on, over a dozen companies are already using Apple Business Chat, including building supply companies The Home Depot and Lowe’s, as well as hotel chains Marriott, Hilton, and Four Seasons. The financial institutions Wells Fargo, Ameritrade, American Express, and Discover use this tech. Or there’s Dish Network, T-Mobile, and newegg. Also included in Harry & David and 1800Flowers.