San Francisco, USA
The 4th Industrial Revolution brought with it a great number of technological developments for the restaurant and bar industry. Tasks that were earlier done manually and took more time than usual are now being replaced by robots or AI integrated apps that are increasing the efficiency of these tasks. The innovations in the bar have not only benefited the management but also improved the customer experience and reduced the friction in operations. Numerous restaurants and bars have already embraced these technologies and have become accustomed to these alternations. Posing numerous advantages, incorporating these changes in the bar has helped the management to keep track of their consumption and wastage, speed up the processes, increase sales, provide better service, gain customer satisfaction, and eventually gain a loyal customer base. Here are some of the interesting technological integrations that we are noticing in the bars.
With the pandemic in place, many bars, when they opened up, took numerous protocols. Some of these protocols included contactless ordering and digital menus. These menus can be accessed through QR codes which are placed on each table or near the bar and can be accessed with a smartphone. Apart from that, bars have also put up digital screens which indicate the availability of the different beverages in the bar and are updated regularly. They help in avoiding contact between the server and the guest, as well as cut down on the cost which goes into printing the menus. It also allows the bards to update their menus on short notice with the help of digitalization.
Not so new to the bar industry, contactless payments have been taking place for a while now with the help of contactless credit or debit cards. However, now the cards are also replaced by contactless payments through mobile phones with the help of Apple Pay and Google Wallet. These kinds of payments have helped in reducing friction which was often witnessed at the end of the service. There are several apps that allow you to directly access your bill on your mobile and pay it right there. They help in avoiding lines and offer safety, speed, and transparency while letting you maintain a tab of your orders and pay it with a single swipe.
Beer taps equipped with touchscreens enable you to pour a glass of beer by tapping a card that is equipped with a radio-frequency enabled microchip. The microchip receives the information which is recognized by the self-service tap and the cycle is completed with the encrypted data while beer is poured into your glass within minutes. Pourmybeer is one of the initiatives that has been installed in many bars and has helped in increasing efficiency and profitability.
Artificial Intelligence and robotics are taking over the bars and replacing humans. You might be wondering if it will be able to match the skills of a bartender but interestingly it can stir up a quite similar cocktail. Barney Bar is a whole bar setup that is integrated with a robot and a touch screen that lets you order with just one tap. It is fed with data that has the recipes of the cocktails. It is fully autonomous and revolutionizing the drinks market.
Barney Bar, Robotic cocktail making; Image Source - Barney-bar
A cloud POS system stores all the information about the bar right from menu items to payment information to everything else. It is accessible from anywhere and lets you update any information in a breeze. The POS system maintains the functionality in an offline mode and provides access to all the necessary information. You can conveniently access real-time data or expected traffic, accounting, server and station statistics, notes on guests, and a lot more. These systems are helping to increase productivity in the bars.
One of the most despised yet important tasks in the bar is inventory management. Automating the inventory management in bars means tracking the stocks of all your products including alcohol, mixers, soft beverages, etc. The automatic recording of the inventory helps in anticipating quantities and does not require you to schedule reorders while saving on time. BevSpot is a convenient app that reduces the time for inventory management from 2 hours to 20 minutes as it can be accessed by any bartender on their phone. Provi is another platform that is an eCommerce marketplace providing transparency in the alcohol beverage supply chain that keeps a track of your inventory and automatically stocks it up.
Automated Inventory Management by Provi; Image Source - Provi
Radio-Frequency Identification Technology (RFID) is enabling bars to track the number of pours of beer and is synced with the POS system. These sensors also help in tracking the location of kegs, the quantity of beer left in them, and measures how much beer leaves the keg in one pour. This optimizes the beer keg supply chain, analyses the consumption while allowing bars to identify their product loss. BevCheck is a digital flow meter that facilitates you to track your pouring data and provides 99% accuracy. When it comes to efficiency, Carlsberg has also launched a Carlsberg Quality Dispense System (CQDS) which helps in ensuring great quality while saving an average of 6,000 liters of water a year by reducing the need for cleaning.
A common topic of concern across the world, bars are focusing on being sustainable and tracking their consumption and wastage. In the effort to combat wastage, certain ventures have been launched that connect the bars to a nonprofit organization that helps them to utilize the leftover ingredients be it juices, fruits, or other perishable items. One of these is Zero Percent which is helping bars and restaurants across the U.S. by using data and advanced logistics to connect these bars with organizations within their radius where they can send the leftover ingredients at the end of the day.
With each year, we see something new coming to the table. Incorporating these innovations in your establishments has become essential, not just to run an efficient bar but also to keep your customers satisfied. The pandemic has posed immense importance for digital readiness which can allow businesses to sustain during these times. Thus, it is necessary to evolve into a strong infrastructure supported by the digitized world while staying informed about the latest technology. This will provide a competitive edge to F&B establishments in the post-pandemic world while following a human-centered and inclusive approach.
Article by Shreya Kohli, Beverage Trade Network
Header Image Source - Finextra