Bringing Boba to the Fans: Steep’s Expansion into Levi’s Stadium

Peanuts, cracker jacks, and hotdogs may never go out of style at the ballpark, but these days, fans enjoy a wide range of culinary offerings. With stadiums competing to offer ever more exciting treats–from local favorites to exotic delicacies–the rush is always on to find the next big offering for in-stadium concessions. Luckily, when Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara began the hunt for their next hit concession item, Juma had a solution: Steep Creamery & Tea.

With bubble tea becoming ever more popular and well-known among fans, expanding Juma’s signature boba and ice cream store into Levi’s Stadium was a natural progression. The original brick-and-mortar shop, located in San Francisco, already has a proven track-record in-stadium thanks to established operations at Oracle Park. In expanding outside of San Francisco, Steep will break down barriers for both Juma youth and Juma’s growing boba business.

Early on, it was clear that youth were invested in Juma’s new boba business at Oracle Park. They found ways to try and be assigned to the Steep stand even if they were not scheduled at that location. Youth showed up early for shifts to ask the Juma staff if they could work at the boba cart. Their investment shows in the quality of work Juma youth perform when they’re at Steep locations–despite boba being more difficult than other items to prepare and serve, Juma youth take ownership of the product and work carefully to get the job right.

In addition to being popular with youth, Steep is also a step-up in responsibility. Young people working at boba stands have to constantly monitor their pace to avoid allowing any part of the boba process to fall out of sync with the rest. Unlike coffee and ice cream, boba is a multi-step production process–from cooking the boba to taking orders to crafting complex drinks. If any one step is out of tune with the others, it can have a knock-on effect on customer service in the fast-paced, high volume environment of professional sports.

“Teamwork is at the heart of the boba operation,” says Alvin Yu, former Juma youth turned staff and founder of Steep. “Communication among youth and between youth and adult staff is a key part of our success at Steep. We’ve been grateful to train with the San Francisco enterprise team who have experience running Steep stands at Oracle Park and will continue to train with them regularly as we head into football season.”

This fall, Steep’s in-stadium operations will go full-steam ahead. “We got great support from the Director of Concessions at Levi’s Stadium who saw Juma’s boba operation at Oracle Park and was eager to bring the same experience to fans on her home turf in Santa Clara,” explained Jesus Rojas, Juma’s Senior Regional Enterprise Manager. Thanks to that enthusiasm and the support of Juma youth and staff, Juma is set to bring boba joy to San Francisco 49er’s fans this season.

“Youth take a lot of pride in Steep,” says Claire Wheeler, Juma Director of Impact. “And we’re excited to bring that pride and this product to Levi’s!”