The Perfect Pour for St. Patrick’s Day and Beyond

Whether your venue is a busy hotel lobby, restaurant, bar, or cruise ship, hospitality venues are bustling places with guests typically outnumbering busy staff. Holidays and events exacerbate the discrepancy, making providing frictionless service seem next to impossible. So how can you ensure staff have the capacity to provide frictionless service to each and every guest? One touch Smart Dispensing can help bridge the gap, allowing staff to efficiently serve the perfect pour of Guinness, Jameson, and more on St. Patrick’s Day and beyond.

Behind the Bar

Not only does Smart Dispensing dispense the perfect pour every time, it allows staff to fulfill beverage orders while engaging with guests. This attention results in better service and tunes staff into changes in guest behavior and needs. 

Self Service

Self-service stations are also an effective option for freeing up staff to engage with guests. Whether mobile bars or tap walls, self-serve stations dispense the same perfect pour as permanent bars and can be set up to automatically limit the number of beverages each patron can dispense. Mobile apps, BYOD technology, PINs, and RFIDs are all options for implementing personalized self-service that associates individuals with their specific orders and pours. Whether all guests are cut off after a predetermined number of pours or have to check in with staff to initiate each pour, self-service makes staff more available to pay attention to guest needs, habits, and behaviors. 

In addition to freeing up staff attention, Smart Dispensing improves the guest experience by reducing wait times, encouraging guests to order that second (or third) Guinness.

St. Patrick’s Day Classics

Guinness may be a St. Patrick’s Day staple but it’s not the only festive beverage you can dispense on tap. Smart Dispensing also supports wine, cocktails, liquor, coffee, kombucha, and more. So whether your guests are team Bushmills or team Jameson, your venue can dispense shots and cocktails without the need for measuring glasses or speed pourers

Ready to have Smart Dispensing on your side? Contact Sestra today to learn more about how one touch and self-service dispensing can benefit your venue.

Beyond Upselling- Techniques and Technology to Increase Your Sales

Traditional upselling of beverage size, quantity, and quality require staff to influence patrons to increase their purchase. While traditional upselling shouldn’t be discounted, its effectiveness depends on your bartenders’ knowledge and delivery. In addition to training your staff in the art of upselling, techniques and technology can help your venue sell more with less effort. These methods can be implemented individually to quantify the effectiveness of each strategy or in tandem to maximize your venue’s sales and your customers’ experience. 

There are several things your bartenders and your venue can do to improve the guest experience that naturally results in increased sales. While each venue within the hospitality industry is different, there are several tactics that can help your venue increase sales while offering frictionless service. 

Offer Multiple Pour Sizes

Beyond giving your customers choice, multiple pour sizes allow your venue to upsell using psychology. By offering three beverage sizes, small, medium, and large (or whatever you choose to name your sizes), your venue can implement “the decoy effect”. The decoy effect is a phenomenon in which consumers are presented with three choices, one of which is intended by the vendor to be a decoy. The decoy option influences the consumer to go with the more expensive option, choosing the best deal over spending the least amount of money. 

Consider a venue that offers beer on draft in small (4 ounces), medium (12 ounces), and large (16 ounces) pours at the following price points:

Small (4 ounce): $4

Medium (12 ounce): $10

Large (16 ounce): $12

As the sizes increase, the price per ounce decreases, encouraging customers to purchase more to save more. The most dramatic savings is between the middle and largest pour sizes. The medium is what is called the decoy size and price point, meant to increase interest in the largest, most expensive option. 

In the scenario outlined above, the consumer is offered the opportunity to save on the cost per ounce, should they order a medium or large pour size. The venue is naturally upselling by offering the consumer the chance to save money per ounce while simultaneously benefitting their own bottom line. 

More is better- when it comes to pour sizes offered and points of service throughout your venue.

Multiple Points of Service

Have you ever been at a concert, bar, or baseball game and wanted another drink but changed your mind after seeing a huge line at the bar? By offering multiple points of service, you can eliminate lines and wait times, encouraging your customers to order that second round.

Traditional Bars

Establishing multiple bars throughout your venue is exactly how it sounds. Traditional bars require tap lines and staff at each service station who take orders and serve your guests. Stationing staff throughout your venue also allows you to implement traditional upselling at each service station. 

Tap Walls

Whether you want to install two taps or twenty, tap walls are a space saving, self serve solution. Disperse guests by installing tap walls on opposite ends of your venue. Duplicate your menu at each station or offer beer at one tap wall, wine at another, and cocktails at a third. 

Mobile Bars

Like tap walls, mobile bars are a self-serve solution. Unlike tap walls, mobile bars can be moved. Station mobile bars outdoors on good weather days, move mobile bars to change the flow of traffic, or bring out additional mobile bars for holidays and peak hours. 

Whether traditional bars, tap walls, or mobile bars make the most sense for your venue, Sestra can help. We can upgrade any dispenser to work with our TapWise technology and integrate your otherwise siloed data to offer real-time, actionable analytics.

Loyalty Programs

Loyalty programs reward your regulars and encourage capricious customers to become regulars. Everyone wants the Cheers tagline and loyalty programs help customers feel like your venue is their venue.

Punch Cards

Go old school with punch cards and offer a free beverage after every tenth beverage that is purchased. While this option is simple to implement, your customers have to carry their card around with them and make sure not to lose it before earning their free beverage. 

Mobile Apps

Mobile apps can serve as digital punch cards that track your customers’ orders and reward their loyalty. Most people have their phones on them already so they’re not tasked with keeping track of an additional asset. An app can also remind customers of their favorite orders and offer self-serve functionality. Whether your venue implements paper punch cards or digital punch cards, ensure your POS system tracks and accounts for all beverages dispensed, including freebies.

Mug Club

Mug clubs are a fun option that offer members a branded piece of your venue that they can fill at a discounted rate. You can require mugs to be left at your venue (taking up space at your bar) or have patrons bring their personalized mug each time they visit.

Happy Hour

Happy hour is a simple and effective way to thank your community for patroning your venue. Whether you offer discounted food and beverages or specialty cocktails that are limited to happy hour, incentivize your guests to visit between certain hours. Your Smart Dispensing system can automatically adjust your menu, pricing, and serving sizes for happy hour and allow you to track the success of your offers.

Upselling techniques and technology at your venue take the responsibility off your bartenders and give choice as well as rewards to your customers. Whether you’re ready to implement one of these techniques or all of them, Sestra can help your venue track the success of your upselling efforts, offer your guests frictionless customer service, and receive real-time, actionable data. Ready to learn more? Contact us today.

4 Game Changing Ways Mobile Bars Are Increasing Sales

Restaurants, hotels, and stadiums all have varying capacity limits as well as reasons for drawing in guests; but there is one thing that rings true for every venue within the hospitality industry. Beverage sales provide one of the largest returns on investment and mobile bars can help you increase that ROI. Because Mobile bars are self-serve, your venue can implement additional points of service and, therefore, incur additional revenue without paying for additional staff. Mobile bars serves the same beer, wine, cocktails, and more as your stationary Smart Dispensers, in a compact package. From dispersing your guests to providing additional points of service, mobile bars reduce wait times and provide consistent pours, resulting in an improved guest experience.

1. Spread Guests Throughout Your Venue

If there is a single exhibit or area of your venue that typically receives more foot traffic, stationing bars throughout different areas of your venue can draw and disperse crowds. Similarly, if your venue features a permanent bar and overworked bartender, mobile bars can alleviate staff and eliminate customer wait times. Determine where you want guests to gather, whether that’s near a specific exhibit or simply away from a more crowded corner.

Keep in mind that guests can only approach mobile bars that they know about. Use signage or inform staff to direct patrons toward the distributed points of service. You can also disperse crowds by offering different beverages types at each mobile bar. Try boosting an event’s customer experience by curating the drink options throughout the venue. For example, feature beer at one mobile bar, dispense wine at another, and cocktails at a third, or, a complete tour of specialty drinks.

2. Move Service Between Indoors and Out

Whether you’re a conservatory with indoor and outdoor exhibits, a restaurant that offers outdoor service when weather permits, or a multipurpose venue, mobile bars are a great way to draw guests outdoors and alleviate the indoor points of service. When your outdoor exhibits or service is closed, simply move your mobile bars indoors. Setup and relocating a mobile bar is more manageable than the setup and teardown of a full bar, making it easy to adjust your venue’s layout for different occasions.

Whenever you relocate a mobile bar, you are able to map its location so that your data reflects the pours in each area. Learning from your pour data may influence where you station your mobile bars during various circumstances.

3. Monetize Your Lobby

Even if your hotel features a restaurant or bar, mobile bars allow you to monetize your lobby. At check-in, offer guests the opportunity to purchase a specified number of glasses or ounces. The purchase will prompt an email to send to your guest with their beverage allotment, a link, and instructions for redemption. Then, when guests are ready to redeem, they approach the pour station, click the link, and dispense. While there are multiple ways to offer self service, email delivery allows you to control who can pour, which offers insight into your service with each pour mapped to a specific guest or member.

4. Add Points of Service During Holidays and Events

Hotels and restaurants alike are affected by seasonality and typically experience higher guest counts around the holidays. In addition, wedding and other event venues host multiple parties of varying sizes and must be able to adjust accordingly. Mobile bars offer additional points of service when needed and can be stored when not.

Your mobile bars’ data is collected in the same manner and displayed on the same dashboard as your permanent bars. Use your pour data to measure the effects of seasonality and plan for next year. Discover the popularity of each beverage and stock accordingly. Your data can also influence staffing and when to reintroduce your mobile bars.

When using mobile bars for events, wedding planners and bar managers will be grateful for the indisputable numbers they can deliver with the bill after the wedding, office party, or Bat Mitzvah has ended. Data doesn’t only mean dollars. Use Smart Dispensing to pour the bride and groom’s signature drinks. At the end of the night, share who had the winning cocktail. Mobile bars add additional points of service and an element of fun to your venue.

Not only do mobile bars provide multiple advantages, they can be implemented in several ways to benefit your restaurant, museum, or event venue. Your data is collected across your Smart Dispensing systems, offering a full picture of your beverage program’s delivery and success. In addition, your alerts and Sestra service work the same across all of your Smart Dispensing stations. Questions about your existing Smart Dispensing systems or wondering how your venue can take advantage of mobile bars? 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.