WE WERE TECHNOLOGY PEOPLE. THEN WE WERE WINE PEOPLE. NOW WE’RE BOTH.
We started in the telecommunications industry before turning our passion for vino into a nationwide importer/distributor business. As our client list grew, we became immersed in the beverage industry – end to end – learning and experiencing as much as we could about wine production, packaging, distribution, and consumption. That’s where our story of IoT beverage dispensing really begins.
THE FIRST STEP TO RECOVERY IS ADMITTING YOU HAVE A PROBLEM.
The beverage industry has a few. Because we worked primarily with wine programs, that’s where our clients were expressing frustration. But once we scratched the surface, it was everywhere. From beer and liquor to coffee or even milk, every person in every corner of the industry was experiencing the same issues:
A LOT of overpouring. When you get down to the specifics, there are two kinds of overpouring: unintentional “eye-balling” or a complimentary top off. Either way, serving more than the proper amount gouges profits. Take wine for example – the single ounce difference between a 5 oz. glass and a 6 oz. glass is difficult to notice unless they’re side by side. But, if you mean to serve 5 oz. glasses and instead are serving 6 oz. glasses, you’re losing 20% of potential revenue. Then there’s pouring off foam from beers and “timed” pouring for cocktails – just think of all the loss.
Like overpouring, theft takes two forms. If a bottle (or a case) disappears from inventory, that’s sunk cost. If something is served but never makes it into your point-of-sale, that’s lost revenue. A bottle might set you back a couple dollars for the cost but a glass that isn’t paid for loses you much more. We had clients reporting losses up to 50% due to bottle theft.
Perishability is a fact of life throughout the F&B industry, whether it’s food, alcohol, or other beverages. Different beverages have different shelf lives but all good things eventually come to an end. Once opened, a bottle of wine only has a couple days of life left in it. Liquor lasts longer without oxidation but the alcohol will begin to evaporate off and it will slowly lose its “sparkle.” Spoilage is one thing but breakage is another. Even when our clients were moving through stock quickly, accidents happened. Glass is fragile by nature so it only takes a few jostles in transport or a long drop off of a shelf to lose inventory.
Take a case of wine, serve its contents, and what are you left with? A dozen glass bottles, corks, labels, foils, and the package it all came in. Glass bottles are sexier and more traditional compared to bland bulk packaging. But, like a good shoe, sometimes you need to choose function over form. Glass is expensive to buy and fill, difficult to package, cumbersome to get rid of and costly to have hauled away. When we spoke to clients, they weren’t just concerned about their own ease of operations. They wanted to minimize environmental impact too. The beverage industry isn’t exactly a beacon of sustainability – on average, only 20% of glass actually gets recycled.
All of those bottles to carry. All of that ice to replenish. All of the tables, the refrigerators, the searching, the opening, the measuring, the pouring, the counting. And the big problem with our clients: how could they manage purchasing without tracking everything by hand then trying to compensate for discrepancies? Most venues were tight on storage space and even tighter on resources.
WE DECIDED TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT.
After hearing the stories and crunching some numbers, we thought, “There has to be a better way.” But there wasn’t…until we made one. The food and beverage industry was sorely lacking technology and we didn’t want our clients to cobble together a solution from multiple products and services.
Our IoT beverage dispensing device integrates with any ordinary keg systems to equip it with programmed portion control, in-line chilling, sophisticated analytics, remote management, and more. It’s unobtrusive, easy to install, and takes care of every problem with one punch. Loss prevented before it happens, operations eased, service elevated with near hands-free pouring, and carbon footprint sliced – our clients were thrilled. They were calling us a win-win-win.
BUT, WHAT’S NEXT? BUILD AWARENESS, EDUCATE AND INNOVATE.
We know more people and places are having the same troubles. But, in an industry relatively slow to innovate, it can be hard to pull people away from their “good enough” solutions. Overpouring? A squat cup or pour counting is “good enough”. Trying to keep up with inventory? Using data from hand checking and POS comparison is “good enough”. Aside from that, some of our newer clients weren’t even aware of the extent of their issues until a discussion with us.
We don’t think “good enough” is good enough. Our new goal is to spread the word about beverage industry problems, ways to improve and the technology available to help. By educating, improving and continually innovating for the industry – through this blog, through our website, and through our solutions – we can all win.