While operators continue to struggle with labour shortages and other effects of the pandemic, bars are once again hitting their stride as new technology shakes things up to help bartenders improve efficiencies, increase sales and wow customers.
Inventory Control in Hand
Amidst a labour shortage and staffing crisis, operators look first for ways to improve efficiency. And where better to start behind the bar than with bar counts and inventory managed via a mobile app?
“A big [concern] for a lot of our users is to see how much product they go through and how often,” says Kyle Thacker, director of Marketing at Backbar, a U.S.-based bar-inventory app. “Then [they can] order more efficiently and cut costs and unnecessary orders.”
Thacker says that in response to dealing with a smaller staff, many bars have shrunk their menus and are running smaller beverage programs, and Backbar is helping them choose what to cut and what to keep. “Tracking the efficiency and performance of products has been a big challenge, so [managers] know what products to cut and what to keep in stock that are producing the most profits for them. That’s in terms of feedback from our customers. It’s a big change that they weren’t doing before that they are now.”
Turn the Bill Around
The more things change, the more today’s POS systems are able to adapt. Square Hardware heard customers and operators loud and clear and developed a new stand which now has the card reader integrated directly into the display, and it can swivel toward the customer.
Laura Jones, head of Product Marketing at Square Hardware says, “This change improves reliability for bars and restaurants because there’s no payment device directly on the countertop in case of spills, freeing up countertop space. In addition to that, we’ve added new software to improve the check-out experience for customers, including tipping.”
She says as Canadians get back to doing more and more business face-to-face, the fact that the seller can turn the Stand toward their customer (referred to as “swivelling”) means the checkout flow is more transparent because customers can review an order summary screen before they pay.
On Tap for a Good Time
The pandemic changed the way customers feel about a do-it-yourself experience. But is it possible to wow the guest by asking them to pour it themselves?
With Pour My Beer, customers in more than 500 locations worldwide (and three in Canada) are pouring their own beer, wine and pre-made cocktails with the help of RFID cards and the PMB next generation software beverage system.
Tana Rulkova, VP of Marketing at Pour My Beer, notes that in addition to the novelty of the Pour My Beer Experience, it offers guests flexibility. “If a bar offers a cucumber Margarita and a raspberry Margarita, instead of having to make a decision between the two, customers can just grab one small glass of each, or try a sample pour,” allowing bartenders to focus more on the guest and service.
The pandemic forced change in bars and customers alike. Guests are adapting to new kinds of service, especially when the experience is part of the fun, so bars are now relying on apps and tech to provide efficient service where there’s just not enough staff.
By Andrea Victory