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Guaranteed Rate Field Report Card: White Sox Fans displeased with lack of employees at games

by Joe Binder

With fans at the ballpark for the first time in over a year in 2021, it’s been clear based on social media that there have been some pains associated with getting back to the ballpark:

But, to see if this was more than just an isolated incident or two, we decided to ask the fans for their thoughts! From entry/exit to food/beer lines, you gave your responses on your experience at the ballpark so far this season, and the results are below. We’ve included some of our crew’s tips on navigating the ballpark, both in this article and in our most recent podcast.

Thanks to everyone who took the time out to respond!


How would you grade employees’ ability to keep lines outside of the stadium moving?

Results:
A – 5.6%
B – 23.9%
C – 23.9%
D – 23.9%
F – 22.5%

Our Jonnie Nonnie gave some great ideas on our latest podcast for how to avoid some of the stadium entry delays. Our biggest tip: utilize the fact that there are multiple gates to get into the stadium – long lines at one gate don’t mean long lines at all of them. Definitely some split opinions here though.


How would you grade the stadium employees’ ability to keep drink lines moving?

Results:
A – 2.8%
B – 9.9%
C – 21.1%
D – 26.8%
F – 39.4%

Drink lines have been tough without vendors. It’s not the employees’ fault, to be fair to them – they’re doing what they can. But, I think we all echo a similar sentiment on this one: bring back the vendors.


How would you grade the stadium employees’ ability to keep food lines moving?

Results:
A – 4.2 %
B – 7%
C – 21.1%
D – 18.3%
F – 49.3%

Similar story here – lines are tough, but it’s hard to blame this on the employees – Guaranteed Rate Field is likely understaffed. Bringing back vendors won’t help as much here, but if you can, try and utilize the Ballpark App for mobile ordering. I’ve never tried it, but it might help!

Also, time your food breaks well – if Seby Zavala and Billy Hamilton are the next two hitters up for the Sox, you can probably head to the hot dog stand at that point and save yourself some time in line.


How would you grade service with the MLB Ballpark App at Guaranteed Rate Field?

Results:
A – 12.7%
B – 8.5%
C – 14.1%
D – 12.7%
F – 23.9%
N/A – 28.2%

Like I said above – I personally haven’t used the Ballpark App, but it might be worth a shot to try and do so. If the lines are that bad, overall, those who have used that app have at least had mostly better experiences than standing in line.


How would you grade the ease of getting into lots, parking, and leaving the ballpark?

Results:
A – 11.3%
B – 22.5%
C – 22.5%
D – 19.7%
F – 22.5%
N/A – 1.4%

Parking has been tough – if you get there close to game time, you’re going to be stuck in traffic for a bit. Plan accordingly for entry.

As for exit: read the field. If a bunch of fans are leaving a few outs early, wait it out. If the Sox are up 9-1 and you don’t feel the need to see a half inning, but people are staying, leave then too. Time things out and the process gets a bit easier.


How would you grade your overall Guaranteed Rate Field experience?

Results:
A – 11.3%
B – 28.2%
C – 36.6%
D – 18.3%
F – 5.6%

Harsh, but fair here. You’d hope to see more A’s and B’s if you’re part of the White Sox organization, but it’s clear that people highly prioritize being able to have a great in-game experience that goes beyond the product on the field.


What has been your average wait time to enter Guaranteed Rate Field on week nights?

Results:
0-5 minutes: 8.5%
5-10 minutes: 12.7%
10-15 minutes: 26.8%
15-20 minutes: 15.5%
20-30 minutes: 9.9%
30-40 minutes: 2.8%
40+ minutes: 1.4%
N/A: 22.5%

I’ll be honest, 10-15 minutes really isn’t that bad. About half the time is at or under that, so I think this is pretty solid despite some complaints.

Pick the right gate, look around. I promise it’ll help.


What has been your average wait time to enter Guaranteed Rate Field on weekends?

Results:
0-5 minutes: 1.4%
5-10 minutes: 16.9%
10-15 minutes: 8.5%
15-20 minutes: 18.3%
20-30 minutes: 23.9%
30-40 minutes: 9.9%
40+ minutes: 16.9%
N/A: 4.2%

Not as great as they were doing during the weekdays, which is understandable. I was at the Houston series, and it was the busiest I’ve seen the park in a while. The ballpark location right off the expressway isn’t always advantageous, and I do hope by season’s end the process will be able to move a bit quicker.


What has been your average wait time in food lines at Guaranteed Rate Field on week nights?

Results:
0-5 minutes: 8.5%
5-10 minutes: 15.5%
10-15 minutes: 11.3%
15-20 minutes: 15.5%
20-30 minutes: 19.7%
30-40 minutes: 4.2%
40+ minutes: 0%
N/A: 25.4%

Pretty spread out here. I think it really depends on what food you’re waiting for. I do hot dogs, and I’m rarely waiting more than a few minutes.

The biggest thing, as I mentioned before: pick good times to go for food/drinks/bathroom. You’ll save yourself much more time by doing so.


What has been your average wait time in food lines at Guaranteed Rate Field on weekends?

Results:
0-5 minutes: 8.5%
5-10 minutes: 15.5%
10-15 minutes: 11.3%
15-20 minutes: 15.5%
20-30 minutes: 19.7%
30-40 minutes: 4.2%
40+ minutes: 0%
N/A: 25.4%

I will say, 20-30 minutes for food is a lot. Jonnie also mentioned this on our latest podcast, but if you get to the ballpark early and don’t mind grabbing food before the game starts, do it. With the stadium likely being understaffed, this will go a long time for your food line waits.


What has been your average wait time in beer lines at Guaranteed Rate Field on week nights?

Results:
0-5 minutes: 11.1%
5-10 minutes: 8.3%
10-15 minutes: 13.9%
15-20 minutes: 18.1%
20-30 minutes: 15.3%
30-40 minutes: 2.8%
40+ minutes: 2.8%
N/A: 27.8%

I’d be curious to see how this compares to a normal season. In many ways, I feel like the majority waiting under 20 minutes isn’t uncommon from a normal season. Not having to wait as long with the vendors is of course the theme of this article.


What has been your average wait time in beer lines at Guaranteed Rate Field on weekends?

Results:
0-5 minutes: 2.8%
5-10 minutes: 9.7%
10-15 minutes: 6.9%
15-20 minutes: 13.9%
20-30 minutes: 23.6%
30-40 minutes: 12.5%
40+ minutes: 18.1%
N/A: 12.5%

We definitely talked about this above: plan wisely, especially on weekends. Perhaps try a different beer vendor too and seek out the shortest lines, especially if you’re in a crowded area. Who knows, you might get lucky.


Which area should the team address first?

Results:
Lines to enter stadium: 12.5%
Lack of vendors: 54.2%
Food lines: 13.9%
Drink lines: 8.3%
MLB Ballpark App ordering: 1.4%
Parking: 9.7%

No surprise here from the fans – people want their drinks. This is the easiest way to alleviate some of the issues here.


What are some changes you would like to see the team make as the season progresses?

Top Responses:

Jonnie Nonnie (@NonnieJonnie): “Bring back vendors ASAP, allow cash transactions, allow tailgating in all parking lots, provide an ETA for delivery BEFORE completing a mobile food/drink order on the Ballpark App, bring back check-in promotions on the Ballpark App, bring back dollar dog Wednesdays, make sure staff size is sufficient enough to accommodate 30K+ fans, clean up all these logistics immediately so fans don’t have to miss significant portions of the game.. just imagine missing an amazing playoff moment because you’re waiting in line for over half an hour.”

Noah Amstadter (@cu4abeer): “Give up the ghost and start taking cash again. When there are 35,000 people leaving the stadium at one time, we’re sandwiched together like sardines anyway. I don’t really get the health argument in not taking cash. The credit cards only deal is a contributor to both slow moving lines and lack of vendors. Cash tips also might be an incentive for some staff to come back.”

Carolyn Nevin: “Vendors need to be back. Mobile ordering does not work for pick up. Ordered fries and waited 45 min in the mobile order line and wasn’t helped. Then went into the regular line, waited another 25 min, and was told I could only go into the mobile ordering line. Then had to go back and wait for another 20. It’s ridiculous, to say the least.”

Steve Bell (@coachbell88): “Bring back vendors, makes no sense that they can deliver orders from the app but can’t walk up and down the aisles. Limited options for delivery make orders in person necessary and create large congregations of fans which is what the app ordering and delivery was supposed to prevent…”

John (@buickdriver69): “1) Somehow fix the lines to get into the stadium. Maybe start by eliminating the additional ticket scan before entering the 100 level. 2) Fix the beer lines. 3.) Get rid of the ballpark app mobile ordering and have those people sell beer or food in the stands.”

Tommy (@bombcada1): “It’s not that the workers are doing a poor job keeping things moving, it’s that there are not enough workers. More beer vendors walking up and down the stands fixes everything.”


This is the first time in a very long time that the White Sox have had such large crowds. In a normal year, it would take some adjusting in order to really help things run smoothly. In the first year back from COVID? Things are clearly even more difficult than they usually would be.

Hopefully, as the season continues on, the White Sox will be able to hire more staff members in order to help alleviate some of the stress on the current employees. A minor investment into some additional staff members would go a long way in the long-term profitability on a season like this.

Even with the shortcomings, the atmosphere at the ballpark is better than ever. It’s an exciting time to be a White Sox fan, and I hope you take the time out to enjoy a game or two at the field. It’s never a “bad” day at Guaranteed Rate Field.

… just make sure to plan accordingly!

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Mary

Bring back the beer vendors. You can’t even sit and enjoy the game cause people are constantly getting up to buy beer. And the mobile ordering is a farce. I ordered an Italian beef. They texted me a few minutes later to say to go to the stand for pickup. So I went and stood in a long mobile ordering line for pickup. When I finally got taken care of, they told me they were out of Italian beef and it wouldn’t be ready for an hour, so I should come back then. I told them to cancel the order,… Read more »

Brian

There appear to be enough workers in the concession stands. The real problem is that they are SLOW. Too much chatting, too much standing around. Not enough rushing, at all. Every station should be able to serve up a precooked hot dog, chips, drink in less than one minute, including taking the payment.

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