September 25, 2013
If you are like me, then you love to get to the bar early and beat the crowds. Not because you are a curmudgeon and a misanthrope, but because once it gets packed to capacity, getting your next beer can take forever. Sure, bars have awesome point of sale systems, but good luck ordering anything if the bar is unapproachable.
Richard Liang was a bartender heavily entrenched in the hospitality industry before he transitioned into an entrepreneur. With Robert Estelle at his side, he founded a simple solution for the issues that surround ordering at crowded establishments: BUZZtheBar.
“Bartenders and wait staff spend half their time processing credit cards, which leads to up to $600 an hour in lost revenue during peak service time,” explains Liang. “This leads to longer customer wait time, customer dissatisfaction, and missed profits. Every time a credit card is swiped, the bar loses out on around $10.”
His app allows users to order and pay for drinks from their smartphone and is fully free to download. Bars that sign on get a proprietary receipt printer and sensor that works alongside the existing point of sale systems, printing receipts from in-app orders with a number, name, and order list.
When the order is filled, the bartender simply places the receipt on the sensor which then notifies the proper parties that their order is ready for pickup. The customer approaches the bar, flashes their phone to the server, and gets their drinks.
“From an inventory perspective, you need to be able to turn your inventory quickly to make money if you are an establishment,” explains Liang. “Also, the customer has to be able to actually get through people and up to the bar.”
In this scenario, the physical bar itself is considered the inventory space available to the establishment, and the longer somebody has to wait to access that space, the less money the venue is going to make. BUZZtheBar prides itself on essentially extending that inventory space to infinity.
And since the learning curve is virtually non-existent, the hospitality industry, which has a reputation for high turnover rates, does not have to fret over training time. The system is already familiar to bartenders, thus they understand how BUZZtheBar is supposed to work and how it actually makes them more money.
“We had a bartender change shifts in the middle of the night and fully train the replacement in minutes,” says Liang. “Most competition that does this is coming at it from the consumer perspective, but we approach from the server’s side of things.”
Because BUZZtheBar interacts with the customer at the point of sale, Liang and his team are dually wielding their platform to contextually advertise for alcohol brands. So far they have increased sales of specific brands by over 200 percent through menu positioning.
The road ahead looks pleasant, as they are welcoming several new alcohol brands as customers. They plan to roll out updates to include social interactions and pre-ordering in the very near future, so stay tuned.
BUZZtheBar was featured at Tech Cocktail’s Downtown Vegas Mixer & Startup Showcase on September 12th.
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