The pub industry has changed drastically in the past decade. This transition has revolutionised the way consumers think about pubs, which are now viewed as far more than just a local watering hole. The lines with restaurants have been blurred and pubs are now sought-after destinations for food, premium drinks, working spaces and social hubs.
Technology has transformed both front and back of house operations, reshaping service and the customer experience. The tech you now see front of house has become more advanced, allowing customers to directly engage directly with the venue. App table services have been adopted by many pub groups and allow customers to pre-book tables and place food and drink orders ahead of their visit. The implementation of tablet devices on tables, which gives customers the freedom to order from their table and eliminate the need to queue is also becoming a growing fixture in pubs. Staff can then monitor sales and track performance across the board.
Fast transactions during busy periods is also a key focus, which benefits both the operator and customer resulting in reduced queue times. With 50% of debit card transactions set to be contactless by 2026, cashless payments are now widely adopted by pubs. Last year, we saw the world’s first contactless payment, self-service beer pump put to the test during the peak of the pre-Christmas surge.
Some pubs have partnered with the likes of Deliveroo to ensure guests are not left without the option to order food at kitchen-less venues. With entertainment, VRs have also influenced the pub sector, transporting pub patrons into a virtual reality world participating in games and activities, attracting broader audiences.
The pub sector has historically been a slow adopter of new technology, despite the potential to improve business performance and profitability. With labour shortages and ever-rising business costs, now more than ever is the time for operators to run their venues efficiently and productively. Parallel to this, there’s increased pressure to deliver high-quality products to the customer to encourage repeat visits and maintain a healthy brand reputation. This can be especially challenging during busy trading occasions such as match days and key calendar dates.
With the need for speed and efficiency, the new iDraught app offers a solution. It was key for us to develop the technology by working in partnership with publicans as simplicity for the end-user is a core driving force. The app has been developed to make day-to-day tasks much simpler and allow users to review performance and actions in real-time. The new functionality features customised push notifications and an easy-to-use interface; accessing this information via a mobile device lets users view key iDraught data on the move, monitoring key quality measures such wastage and yield.
The demand for data within the pub sector is only set to strengthen. In terms of the future, we see predictive analytics becoming a big focus area in the on-trade. The volume of data that can be monitored is potentially infinite, but ultimately it is how it’s utilised which is what will drive both businesses and the wider industry forward.