Digital technology has been changing the face of bars, restaurants, and nightclubs for the past decade. Gone are the days of paper and pencil bookkeeping. Rarely do you receive reservations via phone. Simply posting flyers to market your event won’t fly. It’s all about the digital these days.
In the ever-evolving nightlife industry, don’t be afraid to say sayonara to whatever worked in the past. Be present in the technology of today and look ahead to the future.
Digital services can streamline, sync, track, organize, and maximize your business by boosting efficiency and, in turn, revenues. In addition to back office digital solutions, some visible frontline tech can make your joint more intriguing, aesthetic, and cutting edge. You can set the bar for coolness and attract tech-savvy, trend-chasing customers by staying on top of the latest innovations.
Here are a few digital opportunities to consider:
FOR INSIDE THE OFFICE (MANAGEMENT): It’s a new day in venue and event management. Digital management programs provide easy-to-use interfaces for owners.
- BookBottles offers an integrated technology platform for managing venues and events all in one place while also providing in-depth, real-time analytics. The company calls themselves a team of technology enthusiasts, who developed their software right alongside venues to meet their needs and maximize their profits. The resulting interface 1) manages all facets of your venue (including inventory, reservations, guestlists, and event ticketing) 2) collects data about your guests, staff, and venue (tracking every guest who walks through your door) 3) analyzes the data and presents it in clear graphs (get detailed information about your customers, servers, promoters, and events). BookBottles aims to help you make smarter business management decisions for bigger returns.
- SocialNightlife Pro is an app for club owners. SocialNightlife is an app for clubgoers. The data is shared to bridge the gap between you (the nightlife industry professional) and your customers by bringing the entire nightlife community together on one platform. You can use SocialNightlife Pro for 1) event promotion 2) data collection and analysis 3) customer engagement, rewards, and relationship management 4) management of guest lists, reservations, and admission.
FOR REACHING OUT (MARKETING): Digital marketing is the promotion of your bar using electronic media. It allows you to cast a wide net and keep tabs on your marketing efforts and the effects thereof.
- DrinkAdvisor (read: TripAdvisor for drinking establishments) was designed as a marketing tool for bar and nightclub owners. It’s a mobile nightlife guide providing up-to-date information provided by experts and users, who review and rate establishments in over 210 cities around the world. DrinkAdvisor promises to “make your spot popular” by making your venue more visible to smartphone users and giving you control over your venue’s public pages.
FOR BEHIND THE BAR (POINT OF SALE SYSTEMS): Digital POS (Point of Sale) systems handle orders with speed and accuracy and ensure your customers aren’t waiting any longer than they have to for food, service, or the bill. There are many, many on the market. Here are a few.
- DIGITAL DINING was born in Australia before being introduced in the United States in 1984 at a small Washington D.C. tavern with three workstations. DIGITAL DINING is now on iPads in 50,000 establishments. They’ve evolved alongside the industry and taken cues from their customers to offer features and functionality you’ll want to tailor its software to meet the specific needs of your establishment whether you’re a gastropub, a sports bar, or a chain. They tout extremely innovative functionality and features.
- The Bindo Company, founded in 2010, is a retail technology company offering Bindo POS Restaurant - a point of sale system that converts your iPad into a cash register with the ability to accept credit cards. Bindo is a cloud-based business management solution for brick-and-mortar merchants. David Bozin, VP of Growth and Business Development emphasizes the importance of technology in your dining and drinking establishments. He says your point-of-sale system has the ability to make or break sales. Bindo POS for Restaurants allows owners to offer loyalty programs, schedule reservations efficiently, take orders and payments on the go, and analyze metrics.
- RPOWER offers a Bar and Nightclub POS software configuration targeting the specific needs of such establishments, including bar video display and third party liquor inventory integration. They also offer management tools specific for the bar and nightclub industry. Tami Shreeve of the Evening Entertainment Group testified “speed and reliability is a must for our high-volume nightclubs, for over ten years RPOWER has proven itself time and again.” RPOWER's Bar & Nightclub POS system strives to provide the tools and features you need to achieve a unique customer experience and keep your operations running smoothly.
FOR IN FRONT OF THE BAR (SERVICE): There’s no substitute for a living, breathing, smiling human when it comes to top-notch service. Except in our digital age, when positions can be eliminated and replaced by more precise and cost-effective computers.
- iPourit is a cutting-edge technology that calls on customers to pour their own beer and wine via a system of controlled taps, meters, valves, a management workstation, an iPourIt board, wristbands and readers. Cost-saving for the bar (eliminating waste and bartenders), fun for the customers, and accurate to the tenth of an ounce, iPourit is a win-win-win. Bracelets keep children and the overserved from activating the taps. With iPourIt every ounce of beer is metered and charged to a customer as they are pouring it, allowing you to charge 100% of every ounce in your keg. iPourit claims the following advantages: 1) an increase in profits 2) an increase in sales 3) an increase in efficiency 4) target marketing and 5) data mining.
- Tablelist is a mobile app that partners with venues, promoters, and event planners to offer table-booking and bill-splitting services to clubgoers (currently in Boston, New York, DC, Foxwoods, The Hamptons, Las Vegas, and San Fran). From the venue-side, clubs get access to an iOS or Android app for listing and managing available table inventory. Then, from the user’s app, someone can reserve a table, pay for it, split the tab amongst friends, and book bottles and additional services. When clubgoers book through Tablelist, they generate rewards that can be redeemed for black car service, additional bottles, and eventually private jet transport! If you’re ultra-protective of your brand and don’t just want to open up table bookings to whoever can afford them, Tablelist Platinum is the app alternative for you. Patrons can only get invited into the Tablelist Platinum app by both hitting a specific spending level and being referred by an existing Platinum member. Tablelist founder Julian Jung says he “sees natural opportunities for expansion. Our clients want us to handle everything related to nightlife: tickets to shows, the reservation at a great restaurant, and so on.”
- Coherent Design is an independent design consultancy. "Stepping beyond the standard role of technology consultant, our designs and specifications provide for full accountability from concept through final commissioning and training." Their work is featured at Gallery Nightclub in Las Vegas, where a state of the art sound system utilizes the latest in digital audio distribution technology. Likewise, the lighting system features over 100 automated fixtures with computer control of both architectural and performance lighting. The lighting and sound systems are just a couple of examples of how state of the art digital technology can make a splash in your space. Coherent Design specializes in technology planning and programming and has a commitment to innovation, aesthetics, and customer satisfaction.
To see all the latest technology trends and products for the hospitality industry attend the 2016 Nightclub & Bar Show taking place in Las Vegas on March 7-9.