No cashier, no problem: Golden 1 Center to open checkout-free concession store

A new cashier-less convenience store will open inside Golden 1 Center in October that should be ready it time for the Sacramento Kings’ home opener, according to a release from the team.

The arena will partner with Zippin to create a checkout-free store that will allow fans to buy concessions such as water, snacks, beer and more. Fan would use Kings app or the Zippin app to see the store’s inventory. The store would be the world’s first checkout-free arena store, according to the release.

“We’re always trying to make everything convenient and remove friction from the entire fan experience,” Ryan Montoya, Kings chief technical officer, said in a statement. “Within the store we’re going to be able to offer some of our top-selling concessions.”

Zippin is competing with other companies like Amazon Go in the cashier-less store market. It opened a public store in San Francisco in August 2018 that uses overhead cameras, shelf sensors and AI technology to determine what has been bought.

Asked why they partnered with Zippin as opposed to other companies, Montoya said it was the people behind the project that were the deciding factor.

“After looking at a few, we soon realized that [Zippin] had not only the best technology, but the best people behind it,” he said. “The leadership of the team, I think they have a great culture with very smart people. They understand where this is going.”

Zippin co-founder and CEO Krishna Motukuri said in the release that the company’s motto is to “banish the checkout line” and said people will be able to “walk in, grab a beer and walk out in under 30 seconds.”

The arena is still working on an ID verification process for people who are buying alcohol, but Montoya says there would likely be someone near the alcohol who will check ID.

“We’re still working out the details,” he said. “The beer is on a mat that has sensors on it and people will be able to go and pick up the beer and walk out. Likely, it would be before they pick up the beer. We’ll just do their ID and then they can walk out.”

The store is expected to open in time for the Kings’ home opener against the Portland Trail Blazers on Oct. 25. It will be open for all Kings home games and other Golden 1 Center events.

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Mack Ervin III covers breaking news and high school sports for The Bee. A journalism student at Sacramento State, he follows auto racing and most other sports.