IT’s a pie-oneering shift in half-time habits that will catapult terrace snacking into the 21st century.
They may have lost their manager, but while their team is second bottom of the league, supporters at Tynecastle will find their club well ahead of the pack in being offered the chance of table-service at Tynecastle rather than trudging off to the concourse for their mid-match pie and Bovril.
The groundbreaking scheme – the first of its kind in Scottish football – will see supporters send their orders to the snack bar via a smart phone app, with their grub then delivered to their seat by stadium staff.
And orders can even be paid electronically, removing the scramble for change at the till.
The cutting-edge service will be available to all 3000 supporters seated in the Wheatfield Stand during this Saturday’s home fixture with Motherwell.
David Southern, managing director at Hearts FC, said: “We are delighted to be the first football club in Britain to use mobile technology in this way to give our supporters more flexibility in the way they access concessions.
“Our supporters are the best in the country and we do all we can to ensure that they have the best possible matchday experience.”
But some fans said poor web connectivity at Tynecastle could pour cold water on the innovation.
Diane Scougall, 48, a Hearts season-ticket holder for 15 years, said: “I constantly struggle to get a signal at Tynecastle, so if they were going to do this they would need to have free wi-fi for it to work properly.”
And she added: “I appreciate what the club is trying to do. This is coming on the back of 3D programmes and I remember Hearts were one of the first to have a decent website in Scottish football, so they are showing they can innovate. It’s an interesting initiative but think the club should be concentrating on more pressing on-field problems.”
Steve Kilgour, of the Federation of Hearts Supporters’ Clubs, welcomed the table-service plan and joked that fans would be more excited if they were brought beer to their seats.
“It’s quite a good idea because personally there’s nothing worse than missing bits of the game. To be able to get your pie and Bovril without leaving your seat and missing a moment of the match is great.
“It shows Hearts are thinking of new ways to look after supporters and enhance their matchday experience.”
Provided by the firm QikServe, the technology could be configured in future to offer non-food items such as match programmes, memorabilia or even products from the club store.
It is likely to be rolled out in stages across the stadium throughout 2013.