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RFID Brews Up Valuable Beer Data for Restaurant

Oak & Stone estimates that 25 percent of its sales go to beer—as opposed to a common average of about 3 percent of sales—and now has RFID-based data indicating what demographics prefer which brands and beverage types, as well as when, all with a self-serve beer wall.
By Claire Swedberg
Tags: food, Retail

The St. Petersburg beer wall is a centerpiece of the restaurant, Seidensticker says, covering several actual walls, with an arrangement of dark beers transitioning to lighter beers and ciders for ease of use. Selecting beverages can be intimidating, he notes, so the system is designed to make this process easy.

The solution leverages the iPourIt app to improve the experience for visitors. With the app, they can use the system to look up which beers they have previously purchased, In that way, then can better know what they want to order upon their return—and the restaurant can analyze the collected data to better market to its clientele.

"It allows us to look at the demographics and understand who is there, who is drinking beer and what kind," Seidensticker explains. With this data, the company knows not only the age and gender of each patron, but whether its customers are Florida locals or visitors from other parts of the country, as well as their interests and when they tend to be in town. "That's just gold for someone in our business," he states.

With the system now in place at two restaurants Seidensticker says he has seen some interesting data. For instance, he reports, cider sells more heavily than he would have expected, and is typically preferred by women. What's more, local breweries are outselling other beer makers whose products they've sold.

"There' no question we sell more beer with the beer wall," Seidensticker adds. While similar restaurants tend to gain 3 to 5 percent of their revenue from beer, he says, that number is close to 25 percent thanks to beer wall. "We sell hundreds of thousands of ounces every month." Still, he plans to further develop the product offerings based on the data provided by the system. "The coolest part of this, for me, is that data—that's really interesting, and I'm looking forward to doing more with it."

The wristbands are provided by ID&C, located in Sarasota, and are custom-made for Oak & Stone. The restaurant encourages patrons to leave the bands when they finish their meal or drinks, so that they can be reused. But in some cases, Seidensticker says, customers reuse their wristbands by taking them home and re-wearing them for their next visit—in part, he notes, because the bracelets have an appealing look.

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