The pandemic has caused a huge uptake of digital technology across the pub sector but the systems available vary wildly in terms of cost, quality and functionality. At its best, digital technology can make your pub more efficient, more profitable and improve your customer experience. Don’t settle for ‘good enough’ - choose technology for your pub that will help you to build a stronger, more streamlined and profitable business, and thrive in the ‘new normal’.
Next time you’re choosing pub technology, consider these three killer questions...1. What kind of pub technology do I need?
The first choice you need to make is what kind of pub ordering system do you want? You can get the most generic app for twenty quid, or spend millions developing your own. The third way is a white-label solution, a pub app developed by a third-party and customised or ‘skinned’ to look like your own. The cost of these is far more manageable, with a shorter set-up time and - if you choose well - just as flexible to your needs.
What kind of pub app should you choose? Many leading pub groups, following the lead of Wetherspoons, require you to download an app to order - known as a native app. Native apps have some benefits, including more sophisticated design options and the possibility for push notifications. However, with guest confidence at an all time low, having to download an app adds yet one more layer of friction for your customers. A modern web-app can offer almost identical functionality, while making it that bit easier to pop in for a quick pint. Decide what matters most to you and your pub guests.
It is also vital to consider the other technology you have in your pubs (e.g. POS, kitchen displays, labour management tools) and how these connect with your pub ordering system. A well integrated ordering app can supercharge your pub’s operations, marketing and more. A system which doesn’t integrate will likely be a headache for you, and your teams. More on this below.2. How can technology help me grow my pub business?
An ordering app allows pubs to operate in line with government regulations but that is just the beginning - there is so much more that technology can do for your pub business.
A well-designed pub app can increase revenue by making it easier for customers to fully explore your menu, and by upselling high margin items. With AI, an app can make suggestions based on customers’ past order history (like on Amazon) meaning customers spend more on average and come away more satisfied too!
When brewpub group Brewhouse & Kitchen introduced Vita Mojo’s mobile Order & Pay system to their business they instantly saw the impact as average transaction value (ATV) increased by almost 40%. More expensive, novelty options such as their beer Tritons, were ordered far more frequently meaning their like-for-like sales actually increased from 2019. This is the value of well-designed pub technology.
Pubs need to develop new revenue streams to boost business while the curfew and other government restrictions persist. Serving food after 10pm is now only possible through delivery and Click & Collect, so why not get on board? A pub ordering system that has smart capacity management and is integrated with your POS enables you to manage orders from all your channels without chaos in your kitchen. It can also ensure a consistent user experience across every channel.
Brewhouse & Kitchen are a great brand to learn from when it comes to experimentation.
Integrated pub technology systems can also hugely increase the efficiency of your operations, enabling you to win back some precious labour capacity from table service and streamline your fulfilment process. This is especially important for pubs who take their grub seriously and need time to do more than pop a lasagne in the microwave.
The businesses that will thrive in the coming months are those willing to adapt to meet the new needs and preferences of the consumer, and good tech is essential for enable this.
3. How do I keep customers coming back to my pub during the pandemic?
It’s not enough to survive right now, you need to find ways to really add value to your customers, and get them to fall in love with your pub’s brand. Technology can be a powerful tool to help you engage your customers, foster genuine brand loyalty and increase frequency of visit for good.
With mobile Order & Pay for your pub it’s never been easier to get the next round in. If your pub ordering system is intuitive and attractive, it can really enhance the customer experience. Key features such as clear nutrition and allergen info, the ability to customise items, and integrated Apple Pay, can make the difference between an ordering experience that is just bearable and one that delights.
Even with good technology, your staff remain your most valuable resource. A technology partner which provides training and support can make a huge difference to how they find using your new system. The right pub technology should make their lives much easier, reduce their stress and empower them to excel at the core part of their job - hosting your guests.
Boston Tea Party Cafés found that the Vita Mojo mobile ordering system not only grew their ATV by 20% but also got positive feedback from staff and customers alike. Without the need to get up and order at a till, customers could relax and spend more time with their friends, and the flow of the venues became much better.
Building relationships with your customer is easier with joined-up technology. By choosing an ordering app with a digital loyalty system or that integrates with your CRM, you can make your regulars feel appreciated with a timely special offer or discount code sent straight to their inbox. If integrated with a great CRM (e.g. Airship) and feedback system (e.g. Yumpingo), digital ordering provides a goldmine of insight to your customers’ behaviour and preferences. Put it simply, access to this level of data can totally transform your strategy and business.
Don’t settle for ‘good enough’.
In summary, don't choose pub technology just for the pandemic. This period, although challenging, is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to evolve and refine your business. It’s worth taking the time, and spending the cash, to get the best pub tech in place now to support your goals and ambitions for the long-term.
Ultimately, the choice is yours. You can continue with a pub app that is just ‘good enough’ or you can jump on the opportunity to fill the desperate consumer need for a comfortable, effortless and delightful experience at your pubs. Empower your staff to do what they do best, unlock the potential of data insights, and see your business thrive and grow, even in the middle of a pandemic. It’s all about choosing the right technology for your pub.
Vita Mojo is a leading provider of white-label digital ordering and back-of-house solutions for restaurants, pubs, bars and cafés. Our technology is powering the digital evolution of top brandsincluding Nando's, Leon, Yo! Sushi, and Brewhouse & Kitchen.