Posted by Patrick Maness
It’s a Friday night and your staff is flying around front-of-the-house delivering plates to guests, greeting new customers and clearing tables. You’re on a wait at the front door, and in the kitchen your team is working full-tilt to deliver your delicious menu to spec and on time.
This chaotic scene is the norm for most restaurants on a Friday night, and while the packed house is good for your business, there’s always the chance a team member can’t get over to touch a table when a customer would like another drink. And when that happens, you’re losing out on additional revenue.
The Rise of Self-Serve
Today's customers want a quality product and they want it quickly, and that's making self-serve options more popular than ever.
While self-serve isn’t a viable solution in all areas of the restaurant business, it has its spots. For example, when it comes to something as simple as pouring a drink, self-serve gives customers a chance to get that next drink as often as they want without waiting for their server or other wait staff. They get their drink when they want it, and your team can focus on other things.
Self-serve wine dispensing systems have been around for a few years, and you can find them in businesses of varying sizes and concepts all across the country. But have you considered making your beer self-service as well?
It’s easier than you think. Self-serve beer kiosks are a safe, cost-effective way to make sure no customer ever waits for a drink again. Customers simply need to check in at your bar or front counter with a state-issued ID. After the ID is cleared, they will receive a wristband. The wristband enables them to use the self-serve beer kiosk to select the option of their choice. Many of these kiosks even feature configurable systems, allowing you to control the total ounces released, based on the customer’s height or weight. The controls can be reset at any time by management or bar staff.
Many models also include interactivity software, allowing for the addition of loyalty programs or even social media messaging. That means you can actually tweet tap changes from the tap itself.
Positive Response So Far
Self-serve beer kiosks are still gaining traction in the industry, and among restaurateurs who use them the response is generally positive. Most find that the system pays for itself in fewer than six months thanks to saved labor and the elimination of over-pours. This latter category can waste as much as 20 percent of a keg.
All of this is good news for restaurateurs, because on those busy Friday nights when you're trying to make money, it's good to save a little as well.
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