Recently, we’ve seen a huge increase in pubs embracing digital technology. Legal guidelines created in response to the pandemic have sped up the shift to modernise the pub industry for the better.
Continue reading to discover the most innovative technologies available right now to help create future proof pubs AKA digital pubs.
What is a digital pub?
A digital pub is one that utilises technology to effectively generate sales, drive customer footfall, manage day-to-day operations and carry out other functions that improve the overall business performance of a pub, like marketing and entertainment.
It’s 2021, why haven’t digital pub technologies already been embraced?
In short, it’s an old school industry which hasn’t needed to adapt until recently.
The focus everywhere, from major pub companies to independent operators, has always been on human interaction. Customers have been happy to accept this as its ingrained in our pub and dining culture. The pub is, of course, the traditional hub of the local community where smartphones and the internet are – sarcastic quotation marks – threats to good old-fashioned socialising.
Attitudes, however, have rapidly changed, which is leading to a transformation of the industry and our traditional hospitality culture. Pubs will no longer be the exception to the rule of tech-savvy consumers who were previously willing to give them a free pass for their dodgy WiFi. Operators then, will need to strike a balance between human interaction and technology for maximum business performance.
The best technology shaping the future of pubs today
Slerp is an e-commerce platform which enables customers to easily order and pay from their table using a QR code. With 53% of all customers saying they’re happy to order from their mobile phone, this pub technology is here to stay for several reasons.
First, Slerp removes queuing – a negative experience – from the customer’s journey. By utilising a table ordering app, customers are more likely to stick around for an extra drink or two.
Second, it can help maximise sales through upselling as customers order. This can include cross-selling meal items, suggesting size upgrades and popular sides and making sure they don’t forget dessert. Sure, your staff can do this too, but Slerp makes sure every single customer receives the same sales pitch.
Slerp also functions as an online ordering system for home deliveries and food pick up initiatives which became a key source of revenue for pubs during the pandemic. These diversified revenue streams will play a sustained role in digital pubs, as the demand for ‘hospitality at home’ in the form of things like readymade cocktails, delivered meals and DIY meal kits rises.
Access Collins, an online bookings system, has become a necessity for many venues due to the pandemic. However, the benefits of this technology will ensure it keeps its place in digital pubs of the future.
The digital platform removes the often-daunting task of managing bookings by centralising it into one simplified system. Enabling online bookings also serves to increase the number of bookings in two ways. First, by making it quicker and easier for customers to book straight from your website. Second, it reduces the number of missed calls or emails from potential customers in a manual system.
Furthermore, 95% of people said it was rude to no-show, but that hasn’t stopped it being a major problem since lockdown was lifted. Thankfully, Access Collins enables you to take payments at the point of booking, as well as quickly send reminder texts to confirm attendance. This enables publicans to minimise no-shows, as well as better understand when table space becomes available for other customers.
Tipping is integral to our hospitality culture. In an increasingly cashless society, however, it had found itself under threat of being left behind… until now.
TiPJAR enables staff to receive cashless tips directly from thankful customers. Built by hospitality workers, the app cuts out your in-house tip management process and passes 100% of tips directly to your staff.
Why is this important for the future of pubs? Well let’s face it, tipping is broken. It takes time to administer and distribute tips, it’s susceptible to being taken advantage of and doesn’t reflect individual employee’s performances. TiPJAR solves all of those things by acting as a transparent, HMRC-approved middle-man which automatically distributes tips to those who earned them.
By cutting out the admin time and increasing transparency around tips, pubs can focus more time on delivering a top-class guest experience, a must-have for any successful digital pub.
Getting people off the sofa and into your pub is a major challenge for operators. Enter Krafted, an app designed to connect pubs, breweries and taprooms with consumers in a way that highlights the unique experience each venue has to offer.
The app is aimed at beer lovers, who want to explore the best beers and venues in their local area. This gives publicans who sign up the opportunity to tap into their local area to attract new customers by showcasing their selection of beers, sharing their pub’s history and offering discounts and freebies.
Krafted’s crowning feature, however, is the ability for users to build curated walks of their area that connects them to the venues and beers they want to visit. They understand that the future of pubs isn’t simply buying beer, but it’s buying into the hospitality experience which includes exploring new beers, meeting new people and discovering hidden gems just around the corner.
No matter which direction the future of pubs takes, one this is certain; sport will always be the biggest driver of regular footfall. Nothing beats the atmosphere conjured by sports fans gathering at the pub to cheer on their team.
Maximising sport viewings therefore is essential for publicans which is where MatchPint comes in. Like Krafted, MatchPint users download the app to find venues in their local area and pubs can make sure they’re found by creating a profile. But where Krafted focuses on beer, MatchPint taps into sports fixtures.
Pubs can quickly select the fixtures they plan to show in-app, publish the information to sports fans and post their schedule on social media in a matter of minutes. Not only does MatchPint help you make the most of your local marketing, but it also helps you sell more beer with exclusive promotions funded by some of the biggest beer brands in the UK.
There’s no better place to market to your customers than inside your pub. Fact.
ScreenCloud provide digital signage systems which enable you to customise and serve important messages, promote events, display menus and upsell offers from strategically placed screens in-venue. This can save huge amounts of time and money compared to traditional marketing materials like chalkboards and posters.
Digital signage systems are also more effective than their traditional counterparts. They capture 400% more views than static images, as well as improve customer’s information recall rate by 83%. With such overwhelming effects, this pub technology will soon become the industry standard to help maximise sales and marketing. Savvy pub owners might even sell advertising space for businesses in their area!
PourTab have developed self-serve beer taps, which enable people to pour their own beer with the touch of a button and tap of a contactless card. Don’t worry, Tabology are not trying to make your staff obsolete, far from it.
PourTab removes the biggest hurdle customers face in busy pubs, especially during peak hours; queuing. Cutting out wait times is also proven to increase sales. This is because it reduces walk outs who would otherwise call it a night instead of waiting at the bar to be served. This takes pressure off staff so they can focus on delivering excellent customer service.
Self-serve stations are also a major selling point that’ll instantly attract new customers. With fierce competition from cheap stay-at-home alternatives, digital pubs need to embrace the ‘Age of Experience’. This means they’ll need to provide a worthwhile reason to convince customers that it’s worth leaving the house for.
Quiz nights are a staple in any pub’s entertainment offering and will have their own place in the future of pubs thanks to digital technology.
KwizzBit is an online quiz platform which enables publicans to easily host interactive trivia nights. It’s as simple as logging in and picking a readymade quiz from the Netflix-style dashboard which can save hours of time writing questions.
Players join using their smartphones and answer questions on-screen within the 20 second time limit. This not only stops cheating as faster answers get more points, but also creates a competitive buzz between players. Scores are calculated in real-time and presented in leader boards, which adds to the gameshow-like atmosphere.
At the end of every quiz, all scores are entered into a overall leader boards with scores from other pubs across the UK. Coupled with regular prize giveaways, this creates national competitions proven to attract 34% more customers than regular quiz nights. And take it from us, people love to say they’re the National Quiz Champion!
Running a Digital Pub Sounds Scary
It’s easy to be intimidated by the idea of running a digital pub, particularly if you’re used to doing things the old-fashioned way. It’s important to consider your business’s needs, areas to improve and most importantly, how it will affect your customer’s experience.
Making gradual adjustments is a sensible way to introduce new pub technology. This means you won’t overwhelm yourself, staff or customers with changes and gives you time to review their impact.
If you’re not sure whether a piece of tech will work for you, many digital businesses offer free versions to test which makes decision-making easier. To see if KwizzBit’s smartphone quiz is right for your pub, feel free to sign up for a demo account and test out a mini quiz with your customers.