RFID Empowers Customers to Self-Serve Beer

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At Oak & Stone, customers who use RFID wrist bands can pour their own beers.

RFID Empowers Customers to Self-Serve Beer

By Anna Wolfe - 08/07/2018

With two locations in Florida, Oak & Stone is a modern tavern known for its handmade pizzas, craft burgers and other upscale pub fare.    

Both locations have a self-serve beer wall that features about 60 rotating varieties of American craft beers including local and regional breweries. Guests can taste and try different beers. And they can serve themselves.

“It’s a great concept,” said Joe Seidensticker, CEO of Oak & Stone, about the self-serve beer taps. “It’s awesome for the uneducated and the educated craft beer drinker.”

Joe Seidensticker, cofounder of Oak & Stone

The IPourIt system allows customers to purchase beer by the ounce, allowing them to sample the beer before committing to a large pour or try small amounts of a variety of beers.  Customers can learn more about the beers by tap the screen to read more about the beer.The world of beer can be intimidating, and many customers prefer to do DIY beer sampling. However, for those customers who seek out recommendations and ask questions, each location features educated staff who can recommend and explain the beers, Seidensticker says.

How it Works
With the IPourIt system, a customer presents a credit card and a driver’s license to the restaurant and are then given a RFID wristband that they can scan at the taps and pour beer by the ounce. Oak & Stone uses RFID wristbands made by ID&C in Sarasota.

Oak & Stone has gleaned some valuable customer insights since using the RFID bands.

At Oak and Stone, customers can interact with knowledgeable staff or browse by themselves. Each taps has an iPourIt Taplet, a digital screen located on top of every tap and includes information such as beverage name, type, brewer, description, ABV, IBU, price per ounce, etc.

To pour, customers 21 and over use a RFID-enabled wristband to engage the brew tap desired. Technology in the wristband links to software that starts the customer’s tab based on how many ounces are poured during the visit and automatically stops after a total of 40 ounces. Customers can then reload their bracelets with more ounces.

For the restaurant, the IPourIt system allows Oak & Stone to collect “great data,” he says.

The #1 priority is the data collection around demographics --  where, when and what. “As a restaurant guy with two locations, this is the most valuable data I can find,” Seidensticker says.

Consumer Insights
Since they’ve been using IPourtIt at the two Oak & Stone locations, Seidensticker has had some of his preconceptions shattered.  

“I made a wrong assumption that women don’t drink craft beer,” he said. “They like to taste beer.  They’re tasting a lot of beer, mostly lighter beers, and drinking ciders.

“A lot of the women are taking advantage of the technology. The data proves it,” Seidensticker says.

He's noticed trends in what male customers prefer as well. “The higher octane beers – the stouts, the big IPAs, those (drinkers) tend to be the guys,” he added.

Local beers are the most popular by far, and the median age of Oak & Stone’s craft beer drinker is about 40. Thanks to the technology, the restaurant knows where people are from and who is at the tap wall for the first time. 

This are all valuable insights as Seidensticker and his business partner Brett Decklever plan to open additional locations. They opened the first location in University Park in July 2016 and expanded to St. Petersburg last month.

In the future, Seidensticker would like to add a loyalty program and mobile app that are both integrated with the IPourIt program. And improving the customer experience through their mobile device is another priority. “We’ve been on rapid growth streak,” says Seidensticker. “We are starting to prioritize these thing,” he says.