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How to Make Beverage Sales a Home Run on Opening Day and Beyond

Opening day 2022 for the Washington Nationals is Thursday, April 7th with the first pitch scheduled for 7:05 pm. Whether attendees are fans of the sport, the Nationals, or Max Scherzer, now pitching for the visiting team, the New York Mets, they’re sure to be entertained. While the main event is happening on the field, concessions sales equal a win for the park, regardless of which team earns the most runs.

How Sestra Helps Baseball Parks Win

A Major League Baseball park wanted to increase revenue, reduce waste, easily ensure regulatory compliance, and improve the fan experience. Sestra’s patented solutions achieved all of their goals, including a positive ROI, in just three months. The venue continues to see year over year improvements in yield, operations, and revenue and has been a loyal Sestra customer since 2016. To read about additional stats, product implementations, and the Park’s big wins, download our case study, HERE.

Customer Challenge

The Major League Baseball park wanted to increase the number of beverage points of sale throughout the park in a sustainable and controlled way. They wanted to streamline their operations and eliminate any waste or theft associated with overpouring. In addition, they wanted to increase revenue by reducing the time between keg changes, understanding service trends and beverage popularity, and pinpointing inventory needs. The operations team wanted to leverage technology to achieve these goals so their staff could focus on providing the best fan experience.

By achieving these goals of faster service, shorter time between keg changes, and increased visibility, the baseball park drove an improved fan experience through shorter lines and perfect pours as well as increased profits.

Read the entire case study and discover how we helped an MLB ball park hit a home run by improving service, speed and quality while increasing revenue

Year over year expansion at the park as well as our continued partnership speaks to the success of the program. Interested in learning how your stadium or event venue can benefit from Sestra’s TapWise technology? Reach out to our team for a free custom consultation. 

 

Unbelievable Super Bowl Food and Beverage Stats

Fans and players alike are prepping for Super Bowl LVI, scheduled to be played on February 13, 2022, at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California. With viewers tuning in for the game, the commercials, and the halftime show, featuring Snoop Dogg, Eminem, Dr. Dre, Mary J. Blige, and Kendrick Lamar, viewership is expected to surpass 100 million. Thanks to the popularity of the game and its accompanying food and beverages, Super Bowl Sunday consumption is second only to Thanksgiving and, according to the National Retail Federation, viewers plan to spend an average of $74.55 on food, beverages, and team apparel. 

Super Bowl Food Statistics Infographic

According to Hungry Fan, Americans spend over $387 million on snacks, $130 million on pizza, and over $2 billion on chicken  wings. So, just how much do viewers spend on beer in preparation for the big game? Americans spend around $1.3 billion on beer in the two weeks leading up to Super Bowl Sunday and consume 325 million gallons of beer on game day. If you can believe these Super Bowl food and beverage stats, every American would have to drink an average of 10 cans of beer! Limited only by what the local beer store offers, it makes sense that home viewers are not shy about enjoying their favorite pint (or ten) during the Super Bowl. But what about the fans enjoying the game from the stadium?

According to Mercedes-Benz Stadium officials, fans in attendance at Super Bowl LIII purchased 117,400 beers and 16,300 hot dogs. The stadium recorded 110,184 different food-and-beverage transactions during the 2019 New England Patriots versus Los Angeles Rams game, including 76,446 credit-card transactions.

While football fans trail MMA fans and hockey fans in terms of average beer consumption, it’s clear that the Super Bowl rivals any other single match in terms of beer sales and consumption. And, regardless of the sport, it’s also clear that stadiums and arenas have immense opportunity for concessions sales which also means immense opportunity for waste and loss. 

Smart Dispensing, however, can help stadiums and arenas eliminate overpouring and reduce waste, getting the most return from their dispensing opportunities. Smart Dispensing pours consistently and accurately, down to a fraction of an ounce, according to pre-set pour sizes.

In addition to reducing beverage waste, Smart Dispensing reduces wait times for both your staff and the fans. Perfect pour technology saves bartenders from having to measure out ingredients and pour sizes while alerts warn staff of low inventory, allowing them to preemptively prep new kegs. A dependable and precise system minimizes wait time for thirsty fans, allowing them to quickly get back to enjoying the game. 

Professional sports may feel a world away from other businesses within the hospitality industry but that’s exactly what it is; a pillar of the hospitality industry. Stadiums and arenas, like hotels, cruise ships, and restaurants, depend on satisfied guests becoming raving fans. If these Super Bowl food and Beverage stats have convinced your stadium or arena to offer frictionless service through reduced wait times and perfect pours, contact Sestra today to learn how we can help. Tuning in for the Super Bowl? Let us know how you’ll be contributing to food and beverage sales on the second largest consumption day in America. 

Smart Dispensing and Thirsty Fans- The Ideal Stadium Combo

While sports fans may attend their favorite team’s live events for support and camaraderie, there’s no denying the allure of stadium hot dogs and an ice cold beer. Sure, you can get those things at home but it’s just different when you’re surrounded by thousands of your closest friends, cheering on your favorite team. 

While passion may look similar across sports, each set of fans have their own eating and drinking habits. So which sports fans drink the most? Read on to find out and to learn how Smart Dispensing can help your stadium improve your bottom line.

While the song implies that peanuts and Cracker Jacks are the go-to baseball stadium staple, 20 million hot dogs and 4.5 million sausages are consumed by Major League Baseball fans each season. And what pairs perfectly with hotdogs? Ice cold beer. Fans enjoy an average of three beers while cheering on their team, with Chicago White Sox fans drinking more than any other fanbase. According to a survey by NJ Online Gambling, the team’s fans consume an average of 4.2 drinks per game and spend $40 or more on drinks per game.

That’s a lot of beer. And a lot of opportunities to improve sales and reduce over-pouring. After working with an MLB park for over six years, we compiled a case study showcasing their beverage program and improvements since implementing Smart Dispensing. The program at the park has grown year over year with more than 200 connected taps driving increased speed of service, better visibility, and easier operations. In the 2021 season, over 2 million ounces flowed through Sestra’s connected taps. Faster service, shorter time between keg changes, and  increased visibility drove an improved fan experience through shorter lines and perfect pours. As a result, the park saw positive ROI in 3 months, 25% volume growth, and 19% increase in yield. Sestra increased beverage revenue at the major league baseball park and revenue per keg by 27%. To learn more about our partnership with this major league park, download the entire case study HERE. While these stats are specific to one customer’s results, similar ROI is seen across sports venues – including hockey.

With Gretzky’s love of hotdogs being what it is (one Redditor calculated he ate 7,224 over the course of his career), it’s no surprise that hockey fans love hot dogs as well. So, how do their beer drinking habits compare to those of baseball fans? NHL fans drink around 3.5 beers per game and their drinking habits are similar whether they’re watching a game from home or live at the arena.  

Mixing it up, football fans favor pizza over hot dogs with 37% of spectators claiming the savory pie as their favorite football food. Luckily, beer pairs well with all stadium offerings, as fans continually prove. While NFL fans trail hockey fans in beer consumption, they average more than 3 beers per game. The Cincinnati Bengals have the thirstiest fans, who claim to average 5.2 beers per game (including their tailgating beverages). 

Let’s not forget MMA and UFC enthusiasts. Unlike the team sports mentioned above, MMA and UFC fighters are alone in the ring but far from alone in the stadium. Fights are typically attended by tens of thousands of fans, most with a beer in hand. Live spectators enjoy an average of 4 beers at MMA/UFC fights, more than any other sports fans. 

While drink preferences and habits differ across sports, one thing is clear; sports fans love beer. With so much beer being poured and served, that’s a lot of opportunity for waste as well as missed potential sales. Having Sestra’s Smart Dispensing and ongoing support in your corner allows your stadium or arena to decrease waste and customer wait time while also increasing efficiency, tap control, and actionable analytics. Learn more by reading Beverage Technology at Stadiums and Arenas or contact us to learn how we can help improve your bottom line. 

 

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. 

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.

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.