So one sunny Saturday I was casually drinking my way around Chelsea with friends searching for good fish ‘n chips.
With bar queues long and tetchy, and with industry insiders in tow, we got to wondering why the awesome speed dispensers had not swept through the bars of the land in the decade-and-a-half since inception.
The innovation is brilliant. I once sampled with my own eyes and taste buds a perfect pint poured in just 4 seconds. A feat readily repeated with all manner of lagers, ales and stouts of renown. You could even have any configuration of such kit. So that you could press the button once and as many pints as you had set up would be delivered. Whether you wanted one or a dozen. All ready in the same four seconds flat. Or fizz, if you prefer to build on the metaphor.
Yet such gear does not abound.
And part of the failing can be laid at the door of the salespeople responsible.
They pitched the same way to everyone. Never learning from what works or did not.
“hey, Mister bar-owner, wanna treble your sales?!”
Visionary venues exist. From sport venues to concert halls, there are those that enjoy a wildly massive increase of drinks sales. Everybody that wants a drink can now have one. Not just only the precious ‘lucky’ few that decided to miss some action to get in line early.
One famous event host I learned, even assessed research which found that the largest London ‘class’ of live music lovers attend four gigs a year. Yet their choice of event is governed less by calibre of performer, but more by which auditorium is best to get a drink at. Amazing.
So why no universal uptake?
Well. Venue bars have a stark choice. Take the dispenser the brewer offers for free. Do it the way they always have. Or fork out a hefty whack for the super-pourer when they don’t think they need to. What difference does the odd punter make anyway?
Even worse, many such venues contract out their refreshments. Big ticket suppliers revel in running the outsourced option. They are more concerned with buying a drink that’s a penny a pint cheaper over an option that can bring in hundreds of thousands of extra revenue.
And these both show classic solution traps of products that show the next step up.
In all cases, the frustrated rep is in the dark about several things. And no manner of enthusiasm alone will overcome them.
The precise problem they solve. Who exactly suffers it. How to introduce the concept. How to apportion time among their suspects. What makes someone more inclined to buy.
These go unaddressed.
Instead, they usually flog one dead horse too many and give up. Then race to the bottom on price of the ubiquitous yet outdated and constricting technology.
Despite the compelling business case, this is not an easy sell. Getting people to change how they do business never is. But it can be done. You must get creative. There is a problem here. How are you going to get the person that benefits most from its resolution to join your crusade?
My favoured path starts way before the salesteam is let loose with the concept…but that’s a whole different story.
For it turns out that many such bar operators that did buy the kit, do not use it. The machinery gathering dust. The reason is enough to make any solution seller sob.
No-one knows how to use it.
Yes, when new and shiny, there may well have been staff who might have got to grips with it. Yet in such a transient environment, such knowledge soon ran out. As a result, pretty soon, when people fresh to the systems tried to use it, they invariably got hit by fobbing.
Warm beer through the line fobs with this kit. Meaning the pint poured is a foam-filled half-head, half-drink mess. Unless you know how to rectify, maintain and keep the set-up true, when this happens more than once - especially at a super-busy stress time - pretty soon no-one dare try and use it. And all that money (and good beer) goes to waste.
In our recent days of OpEx over CapEx, it is surely easier to sell-in the training and maintenance elements. As well as more transparent and realtime data nowadays available to alert where such kit may be lying dormant and go fix.
Imagine too, how quickly such reputation forms. And mis-informs the marketplace.
Overall, this ale tale is such a crying shame that sellers miss this basic foundation that there are tears all over my spilt beer.