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Halloween Promotions in a Box- Restaurant Edition

Spooky season is here. Skeletons are adorning yards, costumes are being planned, and pumpkin spice everything is taking over menus. It’s time for your restaurant to follow suit and plan, promote, then analyze the results of your Halloween festivities. Halloween drinks and decorations are Instagramable incentives sure to lure in your regulars as well as attract new patrons. In addition, restaurants with seasonal menus see 26% more orders! Plus we’re going to walk you through it all, from determining your offer, to promoting on social media, to analyzing the success of your event by evaluating your Sestra data. 

Planning Your Halloween Offer

Your restaurant has infinite options for getting guests excited to celebrate Halloween at your venue. Determine when you’re going to kick off your promos as well as what you’re going to offer and how you’re going to decorate.

Establish Your Timeline

Will your restaurant celebrate the day of Halloween or all month long? A one day event means exclusivity while month-long food and beverage specials mean a bigger window to sell. Either way, it’s time to plan and launch your brilliant and spooky ideas. 

Offer Speciality Drinks 

Create custom cocktails or promote seasonal beer and wine. Save on cost, labor, and time by dispensing your beverages on tap. Specialty Halloween drinks and festivities are sure to draw a crowd so you want your service to be as seamless as possible. For cocktails specifically, serving from kegs can save several minutes per beverage and produces a consistent cocktail every time. Seasonal glassware and garnishes are extra special touches that add to the customer experience.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Decorate Your Restaurant

People love Halloween and you may be surprised at the buy-in you get from staff. You could even turn decorating into a contest- divide your staff into teams and have each team decorate a section of the restaurant. Either choose the winners yourself or have your guests vote. Award the winning team food and drinks from the restaurant, a day off of their choice, or something else you agree on ahead of time. 

Whether you do it yourself, hire a team, or get your staff involved, decorating can be as generic as pumpkins and skeletons or hit on a more specific theme like:

Harry Potter (decorate your restaurant according to the different Hogwarts houses),  Beetlejuice (just don’t say his name three times), or spooky classics like Dracula and Frankenstein’s monster.

Your options are as plentiful as your imagination! Whatever your theme, the only way people will be excited about it is if they know about it…

Promote Your Halloween Festivities

Update Your Menu

Update your online menu to promote your beverage specials and/or upcoming event. Take it one step further by updating the QR code placards, encouraging guests to scan to learn more about your Halloween drinks and festivities. If you haven’t already implemented QR codes and online menus at your restaurant, read Bring Your Own Device in the Food and Beverage Industry for tips to make your guests’ technology go further.

Requiring RSVPs?

If you’re going to cap the headcount for your event, use a platform like Eventbrite to gather RSVPs. You can even connect Eventbrite with your Facebook page, allowing guests to RSVP through either platform without receiving duplicates. 

Social Media

With over 2.8 BILLION active users, Facebook is an accessible platform for growing brand awareness, sharing specials and events, and eliciting RSVPs. Wherever your business has an online presence, use those platforms to promote your Halloween festivities. Note that each social media platform has different features and best practices and, while you don’t want to overwhelm your followers by posting too much, not every follower is going to see every post you publish. Promote your specials at least once a week and be sure to repost user generated content. How can you get your guests to post? While your Instagrammable drinks and decorations will have your guests snapping photos, a branded hashtag can help you track their posts related to your Halloween promos. 

Choose a branded hashtag specific to your Halloween festivities. Use this hashtag to promote your specials and encourage your guests to use the hashtag when posting their own photos. Why can’t you just ask guests to tag your business? You definitely can and should ask guests to tag your business when they post! A hashtag specific to your Halloween promos allows you to easily find and quantify your user generated content revolving around your event. The user generated content can help when measuring the success of your promotions. While sales are going to be the biggest determinant of success, user generated content means brand awareness beyond your own sphere of influence.

Measure Your Success

Sestra’s Smart Dispensing platform uses IoT technology to connect your otherwise siloed data. Each beverage and serving size can be tracked, allowing you to ensure that pours are aligned with the sales that were actually rang in. Compare your typical sales with the sales from the dates of your promos as well as the sales of specialty drinks vs. your typical menu throughout the dates of your promos. Our customers use their Sestra data to determine what beverages are bringing in the highest ROI and switch out offerings that aren’t as popular. We also help venues create promotions to rotate inventory more effectively and predict ordering needs to capitalize on seasonal trends.

Whether you celebrate spooky season with drink specials or go all out with decorations, Halloween promotions at your restaurant help welcome both regulars and new customers to your venue. And don’t stop at Halloween- use these tips to implement any seasonal specials or holiday promotions. If you don’t already have Smart Dispensing implemented at your restaurant, contact us today to learn how we can connect your technology and deliver actionable data. Already working with Sestra? Contact your customer care representative to help you set up your customer portal and analyze your seasonal trends. 

Beverage Technology at Stadiums and Arenas

What’s better than a packed stadium and a winning team? Having Sestra’s TapWise technology and ongoing support in your corner. From waste prevention and the perfect pour to increased efficiency, tap control, and actionable analytics, Sestra can help your venue have a perfect season.

Yield

Whether from beer foam, accidentally pouring a little extra wine into each glass, or topping off a cocktail with some extra liquor, beverage waste and over-pouring happens. With a connected solution that monitors the conditions in the line and throughout every pour, beverage technology at stadiums and arenas can help waste be avoided.

Take our Smart FOBs for example – they detect foam or excess air in your beer lines and close the taps to prevent additional waste. Once the issue is resolved, the FOB is reset and pouring can continue without draining half a keg trying to pour through the foam of a depressurized line. And for wine and liquor, the programmed pour size keeps each serving consistent.

Operational Efficiency

What if the person responsible for replacing your beer and wine kegs knew exactly where one was needed before it even ran out? Or all of your taps could lock automatically at the same time? IoT-connected devices can do all of that and more. 

Beverage managers have control right in the palm of their hands with our Remote Station Manager, allowing them to lock and unlock an entire venue from anywhere. Automated schedules make it even easier and alerts keep you on top of all the action. 

Jonathan Stahl, Vice President of Ballpark Operations for the Washington Nationals shares how simple it is to halt serving at the bottom of the 7th inning, “With the click of a button, we can just turn off service for everybody. And then we can pull reports and find out to make sure that our servings are matching up to what we’re ringing up in the point of sales system as well and hold our staff accountable.” 

Third-party vendors can also gain access to the taps only when you need them to and with limited permissions.

Enhanced Guest Experience

The benefits of connected solutions extend beyond tracking every pour. With TapWise, portion control ensures consistency in every drink your guests receive. One-touch and touchless dispensing also increase speed of service so fans spend less time in line and more time enjoying the game. Servers can also spend less time opening bottles and cans and measuring pours, and more time engaging with guests or ringing them up while the pour finishes on it’s own.

These days, more and more stadiums and event venues are expanding their in-app experiences with mobile ordering and payments. With connected control over dispensing, it’s easy to integrate beverage service directly into your mobile experience, allowing fans to order and pay from their seat, scan a QR code to unlock the tap, and pour for themselves without having to wait to be served.

Monitoring 

As the saying goes, “hope for the best but plan for the worst”. When a problem does arise, it’s imperative to have technology on your side. Taps connected to a cloud-based platform constantly share data back and forth so most issues can be found and resolved quickly, avoiding any service interruptions. On top of that, every action is recorded so there are no questions about where inventory disappeared to.

Having a solution backed up by backend monitoring through the technology as well as a team of experts makes a difference in the way you run your business. Many of the manual processes you would have in place to continuously check things like beverage levels, line cleanliness, point of sale reconciliation, and more are taken care of automatically.

 

From baseball stadiums and soccer fields to concert venues and festival grounds, thirsty fans are everywhere. Sestra’s beverage technology at stadiums and arenas can help ensure those fans receive the perfect pour every time while also preventing waste, increasing efficiency and improving the guest experience, as well as providing control and actionable analytics to help your team stay on top of inventory, cleanliness, and more. Ready to learn more about how Sestra can serve your venue? Contact us today. 

Contactless Service at Your Venue

Contactless service has taken over the food and beverage industry and, since Covid, has accelerated in popularity. While some businesses embraced the trend to halt the spread of germs, countless more see contactless service as a means to increase efficiency and productivity. 

Contactless service does not mean lack of service. Contrarily, it enables frictionless service and results in an enhanced customer experience. Contactless service allows staff to focus on anticipating guest needs, preparing orders, and ensuring speedy service. From delivery to dine-in, continue reading to see how your venue can implement contactless service.

Ghost Kitchens

While Ghost Kitchens are not a new concept, their popularity has soared in the era of delivery apps. Ghost Kitchens are meal preparation kitchens without front of house seating or services. Food is prepared and then sent out for delivery, either through the kitchen’s own staff or food delivery services such as DoorDash, Uber Eats, or GrubHub. How are Ghost Kitchens different from restaurants simply offering takeout? Because Ghost Kitchens are delivery only, consumers don’t have to know where the restaurant is located. This allows Ghost Kitchens to set up shop in more affordable areas, even sharing space and resources with other restaurant concepts. 

Why would Ghost Kitchens want to share resources with other restaurants? The Restaurant Times explains, “With shared kitchen spaces, everything is centralized. It is easier to oversee the quality of production as the restaurant operations are not spread out over multiple areas. These kitchens are located in areas with high demand and relatively low supply and are better placed to capture the market. Ghost kitchens brands operating from commercial kitchens can negotiate a better deal with the aggregators. Multiple orders of different brands can be picked up from these hubs in the same period. This significantly reduces the cost of delivery from the aggregator’s side as well.”

If you have an existing brick and mortar restaurant that has thrived with outdoor dining and to-go orders, Ghost Kitchens may be a great opportunity to pursue a new concept.

Digital Kitchens

Like Ghost Kitchens, Digital Kitchens are meant for to-go orders and do not offer on-site dining. Restaurants like Chipotle are embracing the concept that invites customers to place their orders online and pick up on location. Bring Your Own Device (or BYOD) technology is commonly used throughout the ordering and pick up process. The customer places their order online and receives a QR code as a receipt. They then scan that QR code at pickup in exchange for their food, minimizing employee/guest interaction and speeding up service.

While Ghost Kitchens and Digital Kitchens are great options for pursuing new concepts or opening new locations, there are additional options for implementing contactless service at existing venues. 

Tap Walls and Mobile Bars

While Sestra has touched on the tap wall trend before, its practicality remains relevant. Touchless tap walls allow guests to pour their own beverages, reducing the need for employee-guest interaction. Mobile bars provide the same ease of use and can help spread your guests throughout your venue. So how does it work? Venues place QR Codes at tables, allowing guests to scan and view menus and place their orders. The guest then receives their own QR code as a receipt that they then scan at the tap, unlocking the tap to dispense the perfect pour of beer, wine, cocktails, coffee, and more. Not only can guests order and serve their own beverages, tap walls and mobile bars allow multiple guests to order and pour at the same time. Guest accessible tap walls and mobile bars minimize wait, offering guests instant gratification.

Thinking about adding tap walls or mobile bars to your venue? Sestra offers an end to end solution or we can integrate our solutions and services with your existing hardware. Either way, working with Sestra means embracing solutions that are connected and futureproof.

Grab and Go Markets

You’ve seen and probably used Grab and Go Markets before. Featured in airports, train stations, hotels, and lounges, Grab and Go Markets allow consumers to select, pay for, and receive salads, snacks, drinks, and more any time of day or night without venues needing to set up a full service bar or convenience store. 

No Brick, a Grab and Go Market that Sestra is proud to partner with, offers designs and configurations for any space and any need. Each No Brick station has a “Pay” module and additional modules for coffee, cold beverages, snacks, frozen meals, or wine may be added. The wine module features Sestra’s tap and technology, meaning our partners have access to continued customer service and solutions that grow as they grow.

Payments and Identification

Payment and identification technology goes hand-in-hand with contactless service. Paying through apps has decreased the need for cashiers. Biometric identity checkers (like Clear) decrease the need to manually check IDs. Solutions like No Brick require users to have their ID checked once before having functionality unlocked for the duration of their stay, outing, or experience. 

Technology is constantly evolving and contactless trends will become even more common and accessible as more people and businesses recognize the ease of service and cleanliness that contactless service provides. Sestra can help your venue keep up. Whether you are interested in implementing tap walls, mobile bars, or No Brick, Sestra’s Dispensing as a Service ensures your hardware and programs are future-proof. Contact us today for more information and let us know how your venue has embraced contactless service.

Bring Your Own Device in the F&B Industry

What is Bring Your Own Device

Sometimes, there is such a wide variety of technology being introduced across markets that it’s hard to get ahead of big trends. Other times, a technology emerges that ties others together, expanding their uses and increasing efficiency. One of those trends is Bring Your Own Device, or BYOD, and it’s taking the world by storm.

When BYOD first came into fruition, it referred to employees bringing their own computers, laptops, or phones to work. It didn’t feel like something that would revolutionize food and beverage programs. For the user, perception is that their own devices are more up to date and they are able to use them more efficiently because they are accustomed to them. For the company owner, having employees or guests bring their own technology reduces hardware costs. It also keeps businesses out of the technology rat race of trying to have the latest apps, software, interfaces, and devices. Higher user efficiency with less cost to the business explains why Forbes thinks the BYOD market is on course to hit almost $367 billion by 2022, up from just $30 billion in 2014. 

Bring Your Own Device in the Food and Beverage Industry 

The Coronavirus pandemic has made businesses and consumers more conscious of germs and the ways they can spread. According to WebMD, the two germiest things in a restaurant are menus and touch screens, so why bother with either of them in today’s tech savvy world? Simple implementations like QR codes, online ordering applications, and mobile menus keep everyone safer and at a lower cost to the business. 

Particularly in the food and beverage industry, BYOD offers some key benefits for guests and operators alike:

  • Safety- Allowing guests to primarily interact with their own personal devices cuts down the number of high-touch surfaces that could potentially lead to cross-contamination. This doesn’t just protect the guests but also staff working in the venue.
  • Convenience- With the number of smart devices floating around, chances are that guests have easy access to their own mobile device at any given time. Tapping into that available direct line is a great way to eliminate points of friction in regards to service, such as long lines.
  • Experience- Consumers have begun evaluating more than just products – they want a more all-encompassing experience that makes them feel like they can develop a relationship and loyalty with a brand or company. Integrating BYOD helps bring online and on-site activities together, painting a more cohesive picture, and making the investment in loyalty programs even more seamless.

While companies may be concerned about security risks related to employees accessing corporate data from personal devices, the food and beverage industry presents minimal risk. The majority of information being shared, such as beverage specials and reservation availability, is non-sensitive and even monetary transactions through touchless payments are a non-issue. In fact, Forbes notes that “app-to-pay methods were more secure than credit cards because they mask users’ personal data through a process called tokenization,” so your guests’ most important information is even more secure than before. 

How Our Partners Have Integrated Bring Your Own Device Technology 

Use Case- Email Implementation

A hotel partner of Sestra uses Email Implementation to encourage BYOD use at their lobby bar carts. Once a guest checks in, they are sent an email informing them of the hotel’s complimentary beverage service. The email outlines the hours (Monday through Thursday from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm) and features a link to their drink pass. Once the guest scans their drink pass at the tap, the tap unlocks, allowing them to pour their complimentary beverage. After the guest has enjoyed their two complimentary beverages, they can continue using their drink pass by purchasing additional beverage credits. 

Similarly, a different hotel partner allows guests to purchase drinks upon check-in. The guest is then sent an email with their drink pass that they can use to unlock the lobby bar and pour their own beverages.

Use Case- App Integration

A co-working space that features Sestra’s TapWise technology integrated BYOD features into their existing app. Patrons are able to purchase beverages through the app, scan a QR code at the station to identify themselves and unlock taps. 

This technology and process is also used at fast casual restaurants as well as ballparks. Guests are able to order through the app, approach the pour station, and scan their code, which unlocks to allow pouring. Conversely, for walk-up service, guests can scan a code on the station, which takes them to a menu where they can order. Once their order is placed and payment is made, the station unlocks and they can touchlessly pour their purchased drink.

So, how can your establishment implement this ever growing trend?

Bring Your Own Device at Your Business 

Whether you’re looking to revamp your entire serving system or simply update your existing hardware and technology to integrate with BYOD trends, Sestra can help. 

Create Your Own QR Codes

While these codes may look complicated, free code generators are available to help you hop on the BYOD trend. One of our favorites is qr-code-generator.com, where we created this QR code that you can show your friends so that they can scan and read this article.

QR Code for Bring Your Own Device Blogpost

Make Reservations

Is your bar, restaurant, or brewery accepting reservations? Not only can you advertise this across your website, social media, and newsletters, you can promote and encourage reservations on site. One way to do this is by posting flyers throughout your parking lot and on your front door. Include a QR code that guests can scan to check availability and reserve their time slot.

View Menu

Forgo printed menus in exchange for QR codes placed at each table. Guests can then scan the QR codes and view your offerings from their own devices. Posted QR codes mean one less thing for servers to clean and deliver to tables and one less surface to carry germs. In addition, menu changes can be updated on your website without having to reprint physical menus, saving your business time and money while also being eco-friendly. Who doesn’t love being green?

Scan For Pick-Up

Is your business offering pick-up? Encourage guests to place their orders and pay from home. This makes the pick-up experience more seamless by simply requiring patrons to show their order confirmation on their device at pick-up. This process saves the time of the staff and guests alike and enabling safe distancing.

Unlock Your Taps

Interested in using Sestra’s TapWise technology to serve your guests like one of the use cases mentioned about? We can integrate with your current technology while also making use of your guests’ devices. Contact us here for more information.