The renovations include a self-service beverage market, a “Fan Faves Express” self-checkout market and something called “The King Penguin.”By Paul Martino

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The Pittsburgh Penguins are doing some renovating ahead of the new season.

The organization and Aramark are making some changes to PPG Paints Arena’s concession areas in order to “create a safe, contactless experience” for fans due to the pandemic.

There’s no telling when concert goers or Pens fans will be allowed back inside PPG Paints Arena. But Penguins Senior Vice President and Senior Counsel Kevin Acklin hopes it’s sooner rather than later.

“No one can predict when that’ll happen. We’re hopeful sometime in January. Officially, we’re not sure,” said Acklin.

Penguins CEO and President David Morehouse said in a news release, “The Penguins are very proud to partner with Aramark to make PPG Paints Arena the safest and most innovative sports and entertainment dining experience in the country. Following our announcement of the Rivers Casino deck last week, we have several construction projects underway to keep our fans safe and we look forward to welcoming fans back to the arena with improved food and beverage facilities and the latest fan interactive technologies.”

The team says they are installing new and expanded concepts as well as self-service technology.

The technology includes mobile ordering, self-ordering and self-checkout scanners.

“You can order from your seat, and then have that available so you’re not waiting in line,” said Acklin.

The renovations include a self-service beverage market, a “Fan Faves Express” self-checkout market and something called “The King Penguin.”

(Image Courtesy: Pittsburgh Penguins)

(Image Courtesy: Pittsburgh Penguins)

So will this mean job losses at the arena? Acklin said no.

“This will enhance our existing workforce here at PPG Paints Arena. We have on a typical game night over 700 people here working,” said Acklin.

Here is how the Penguins are describing the renovations:

Drink MKT (Section 101, 105, 109, 204, 215)P
• Drink MKT is an express, self-service beverage market that uses Mashgin AI self-checkout scanners. Created to reduce wait times and increase choice – and get fans back to their seats quickly — the market will offer a wide variety of beverages, including domestic, premium and craft beer, spiked seltzers, canned cocktails and wine, and assorted grab-and-go snacks. Valid ID is still required to purchase alcoholic beverages.

The King Penguin (Section 114)
• A new destination sports bar on the main concourse, featuring more than ten big screens, high top tables, lounge seating, and a wall to concourse premium bar serving beer, wine and traditional and specialty cocktails.

Market (Section 116)
• The Market is a large marketplace featuring three unique food stations and grab-and-go food and beverage.

Fan Favs Express (Section 119)
• The new Fan Favs Express will offer a variety of fan favorites (hot dogs, popcorn, nachos, beverages) and self-checkout, featuring Mashgin AI scanners that allow fans to expeditiously complete their transactions. Valid ID is still required to purchase alcoholic beverages.

Connected Concepts (Section 205)
• Your Favorite Brands In One Stand. Connected Concepts offers some of the most popular menu items from around the arena available in one stand. Self-order and pay via the touch screen kiosks or Pens mobile app. The stand is “flexible,” allowing for the menu to change per event.

The renovations and construction are expected to be completed by the start of the NHL season.

“When we open our doors, the fans that will come back for a concert or hockey game will have a whole new experience. And that’s something we hope happens very soon,” said Acklin.