Your Technology Backed Solution to the Labor Shortage

The labor shortage is an increasingly credible threat to the hospitality industry. While consumers are headed back to hospitality businesses in droves, workers are not. The U.S. Labor Department reported 1,378,000 unfilled jobs at restaurants at the end of September of 2021. The quit rate in accommodations and food services was at 6.6%, over double the average rate across all industries. While Insider reports that restaurants are raising prices, cutting opening hours, and even closing down for good, there is another solution. Internet of Things (IoT) Technology. Implementing technology, automations, and controls through Smart Dispensing for beverages can help hospitality businesses cut down on labor needs while delivering frictionless service.

Labor Shortage in Restaurants and Bars

Integrating technology into existing practices allows restaurants and bars to decrease labor needs without compromising customer service. One touch and touchless Smart Dispensing allow bartenders and servers to save time measuring beverages, mixing cocktails, and tracking and replacing inventory. Each staff member has the capability to serve and engage with more customers thanks to the ease and precision of Smart Dispensing.

Interested in taking your technology one step further? Self-serve ordering and beverage fulfillment stations allow customers to take their orders into their own hands. While customer service will never be obsolete, staff that used to man registers can instead help prepare food, clean facilities, and attend to other guest needs. In addition to saving on labor needs and costs, self-serve stations receive more orders than staff members who take orders. Deepthi Prakash, global director of product and marketing for an Omnicom Group Inc. advertising agency told The Wall Street Journal that “diners are more likely to place bigger orders and add more substitutions when they order digitally because they can hide their embarrassment from servers”. In addition, “People order more and the tables turn over faster, because they can get their orders and they can get their bills sooner.”

QR codes and Bring Your Own Device technology also allow restaurants to update their menus, ingredients, and offerings seamlessly. Rather than reprinting and distributing paper menus, online menus accessed through consumer tech reduces waste and labor. 

While self service and Smart Dispensing are becoming more commonplace in restaurants and bars, the same technology can be implemented throughout the hospitality industry, offering the solution to the labor shortage at stadiums, in hotels, on cruise ships, and more.

Labor Shortage at Stadiums

Stadiums and arenas possess labor needs, such as cooks and security, that remain assets to the industry. Positions that cannot be seamlessly replaced by technology are more easily filled when there are fewer unfilled positions to compete with. As in restaurants and bars, stadium cashiers and bartenders can be aided by Smart Dispensing and even replaced by self-serve stations. IoT technology also provides connected solutions that track inventory, predict when and where inventory is needed, and can be programmed to automatically lock and unlock taps.

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.” 

In addition, granting access to third-party vendors, where appropriate, allows stadiums to work smart rather than duplicating roles across their own staff.

Labor Shortage at Hotels 

Both the labor shortage and hotel cleanliness policies have been exacerbated by the onset of Covid-19. Sestra’s Smart Dispensers help alleviate both issues through alerts. Alerts can be set up to notify the appropriate staff of which stations need attention and when, based on volume, temperature, cleaning schedules, and more. Not only does Smart Dispensing increase efficiency which reduces labor needs, communicating your cleanliness standards may also help assuage concerned staff and applicants. Additionally, Sestra’s Smart Dispensing technology eases operations, increases speed of service, and offers consistency, all while integrating with guest folios and property management systems. Just as self-service helps reduce labor needs in restaurants, bars, and stadiums, mobile bars, tap walls, and other self service stations allow hotels to streamline their restaurant service and monetize their lobbies without incurring additional labor needs. 

Labor Shortage on Cruise Ships

Not only are cruise ships experiencing similar labor shortages to restaurants, stadiums, and hotels, they endure the additional challenge of limited capacity for inventory and staff. Sestra’s Smart Dispensing can help by pinpointing inventory needs to match pouring activity. This ensures that the crew always has what they need to serve guests, while reducing excess cargo on the ship, which minimizes fuel use in loading and unloading in port and weight on the ship. Alert dashboards also show which bars need attention, highlighting exactly where resources are needed, solving problems before they occur. Not only do these tactics reduce excess inventory, they’re your solution to the labor shortage and help you offer your guests frictionless service. 

While Sestra has been perfecting and distributing IoT technology since our inception, the labor shortage has exacerbated the need for the hospitality industry to streamline their technology and implement Smart Dispensing. Our cloud-connected solutions enable customers to maximize profit by preventing loss, improving service speed and quality, easing operations, and reducing labor needs. Whether your venue is interested in streamlining service behind the bar, offering self service, or both, contact us today to learn how we can help you implement your technology backed solution to the labor shortage. 

Virgin Voyages and Sestra Systems Hit the High Seas with Innovative Beverage Program

Strategic Partnership Delivers Technology and Sustainability on the Scarlet Lady 

Virgin Voyages, the lifestyle travel brand focused on delivering irresistible cruise vacations, has implemented Sestra’s Smart Dispensing technology onboard their inaugural luxury cruise ship, Scarlet Lady. Sestra’s unique IoT-connected dispensing solutions and sophisticated analytics platform are essential on-board systems and a key component of Virgin Voyages’ innovative beverage program and sustainability initiatives. Working together, Virgin Voyages and Sestra Systems are driving their shared vision of creating positive change for people and the planet.

Virgin Voyages’ first ship, Scarlet Lady, was designed to reflect a yacht’s sleek luxury, offering the intimate, elevated experience of a boutique hotel at sea. Featuring spaces designed by some of the top names in contemporary interiors, Scarlet Lady is Adult-by-Design and a sanctuary at sea for the 18+ traveler. A dose of Vitamin Sea is naturally intertwined across the entire ship, with well-being, relaxation, and rejuvenation at the forefront.  

In addition to their commitment to luxury, Virgin Voyages is committed to integrating sustainability into every part of the Sailor experience. Scarlet Lady has been outfitted with the latest state-of-the-art equipment and innovative food concepts, serving sustainable seafood and direct trade coffee. They use techniques and technologies in addition to Sestra’s solutions to source responsibly and reduce waste. Not only is Virgin Voyages the first carbon neutral cruise line in regards to its direct emissions footprint, Virgin has banned single-use plastic. Sestra’s TapWise draft solution supports sustainability through its use of recyclable and reusable materials. In addition, Sestra’s solution offers controlled beverage dispensing that significantly reduces waste while preserving the water that feeds our seas.

Shaking up how drinks are served, the Crew on-board Scarlet Lady uses data directly from Sestra’s platform to make real-time decisions. In addition, monitoring and alerts streamline operations within the innovative beverage program so the Crew can worry less about the bar and focus on giving Sailors the voyage of a lifetime. Sailors can even pour themselves a drink, thanks to smart wearables that track their pours and unlock beverage stations. Sestra’s solution keeps beverage taps cloud connected, even when out at sea, delivering uninterrupted, actionable data to Virgin Voyages’ Crew. 

Charles Steadman, Senior Manager of Virgin Voyages’ Beverage and Bar Development and Operations said, “Sestra’s innovative dispensing solution is unlike anything else in the industry. Working with their team and their solution helps us deliver on our promises of sustainability and Sailor experience in a smart way. And, we use Sestra’s analytics and insights to pinpoint inventory needs of every bar, and drive faster turnarounds. They are a true partner in every sense of the word, we couldn’t be more excited to work with them.”

“When two companies that are re-imagining their respective industries come together, the process is fun, and the outcome is sure to turn heads. This is not your average cruise, and we’re proud to sail with Scarlett Lady and her sisters.” said Lev Volftsun, CEO of Sestra Systems.

Sestra’s mission is to bring the internet of things to beverage dispensing, making customers smarter and enriching the guest experience. Our belief in possibility turns the spotlight on innovations and solving our customer’s problems. Our cloud-connected solutions enable customers to maximize profit by providing state-of-the-art features optimized to prevent loss, improve service speed and quality, and ease operations, while providing global business management, control, and analytics tools. Whether you serve your customers on land or sea, contact us to learn how Sestra can implement Smart Dispensing at your venue. 

Cruise Ship Beverages- Seamless Dispensing on Board

Vacationers choose to cruise as a way to disconnect. They’re able to “get away from it all” while also experiencing it all- cruises offer luxury amenities as well as the opportunity to experience multiple cities without having to pack and unpack at each destination. Food and beverage managers, however, must stay connected to provide a premium guest experience. So how can you offer frictionless services while staying connected at sea? Sestra’s TapWise for Cruise Ships offers seamless dispensing through our holistic, integrated system with self-serve and bartended options as well as on ship connectivity. Read on to discover how our solutions can work aboard your vessel. 

Seamless Dispensing

Monitoring and alerts keep everything running smoothly

Your customized Crew App with Remote Station Manager keeps everything running smoothly by providing real-time pour data, alerts on everything from temperature to keg volumes, and controls at your fingertips so you know the status of every bar.

Alerts let you know exactly which bars need attention during service. Remote Station Manager also allows management to control access, pour parameters, cleaning, and more. Preemptively solve issues, before they impact service.

Analytics & reporting for efficient turnarounds

Connected dispensing through TapWise significantly increases visibility and control, allowing your crew to make real time, data-backed business decisions. Reports on inventory churn enable you to make just-in-time inventory decisions, reducing excess cargo on the ship, cutting trash, and leaving you with less to haul. See exactly which bars need attention with the sophisticated alerts dashboard and pinpoint exactly where you need resources to reduce turnaround time in port.

Holistic System 

Build a connected food and beverage ecosystem with two-way data and control using Sestra’s API driven platform. Link dispensing usage directly with otherwise siloed data, including POS data, guest behavior, and inventory details, for a full picture. A holistic system ensures the perfect pour with real-time, multi-stream analysis in an end-to-end system.

Use integrated POS and PMS streams to sync with dispensing usage, preventing beverage waste and resulting in reports that show exactly what needs to be replenished. The most versatile solution in the industry, TapWise fulfills the needs of your entire venue whether your vessel features self-serve, cafeterias, behind the bar, or all of the above. 

Integrated Guest Experience

Create a frictionless guest experience with faster service through intuitive self-serve capabilities. There are multiple ways to offer self-service and track activity through your passenger ID systems, such as wristbands or other RFID devices, or your passengers’ mobile devices. Does your vessel welcome adults and children? Not to worry; Sestra’s e-attended self-serve stations allow for easy age verification integrated directly with your guest management system. In addition, TapWise knows where the boat is located and can adjust permissions and service options accordingly based on whether the ship is in-port vs. out at-sea.

On Premise Edge Connection

No landline? No problem. Our SestraEdge on-premise network takes all of the power of our cloud-based platform to new depths. All of the cloud-based features are enabled, even when the ship is unable to connect, including Self-Serve, Crew App, Alerts, and analytics. SestraEdge services sync with shoreside customer systems automatically when available, making manual monitoring and sync triggers a thing of the past. You won’t be eating up precious bandwidth 24/7.


TapWise technology provides unprecedented, real-time visibility, monitored support, continued education, and consultative customer support. Our team of industry experts are your ongoing dispensing partners, available to build the right solution that scales to fit your needs. Ready to set sail? Contact us today to learn more about cruise ship seamless dispensing.