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Tap That Keg for Data

There's more than beer in that keg! From the moment a keg is delivered until it is tapped, served and fully depleted, it generates actionable data specific to your restaurant's bar.
beer bar
By introducing real-time data collection into the bar, managers can easily evaluate every keg on tap.
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Since the beginning of time, human beings have been generating data. Analyzing that data has become ubiquitous in modern times. In fact, you’re generating your own analytics with every step you take. Whether analyzing your fitness, driving ability, screen time habits, sleep patterns, or your “budget-to-actual” spending… you can learn a LOT about yourself (and make meaningful adjustments!) by analyzing the metrics produced by your own data.

The same is true for your bar or restaurant. As summer segues to fall, the pace of business at your bar may speed up or slow down and that changes how decisions are made. Are you in a large college town with noticeable foot traffic loss as summer arrives? Or maybe you’re in a popular vacation spot and the approaching onslaught of guests has you both excited and anxious all at the same time? Using data gathered from your location(s) is more critical than any national or regional trending data that gets to your staff far too late to act on.

Let’s take your draft beer program, for example. From the moment a keg is delivered until it is tapped, served, and fully depleted, it generates actionable data specific to your bar. Today’s best hospitality technology can help your beverage and draft program managers answer critical profit-boosting questions:

  • How long has this keg been in my cooler? How long on tap?
  • When is this product most popular in my bar?
  • How many servings are left in the keg?
  • When can I expect it to kick?
  • How is it depleting compared to other products on tap?
  • How does it compare in performance to other products of the same style and/or ABV?


Depletion Rates & Popularity Heat Maps

Let’s consider the craft beer bar with 40 taps. Its customer base is loyal and craft-centric – but the summer months present highs and lows as regulars ebb and flow through vacations and other summer activities. This bar knows their guests count on having a range of styles and favorites available but the bar doesn’t want to tie up too much cash in standing inventory, especially through the summer. By introducing real-time data collection into the bar, managers can easily evaluate every keg on tap. Predictive analytics can project kick dates so overstocking is unnecessary and the dreaded “we ran out of that” apology can be avoided. Heat maps reveal days/times the product is most popular so managers can maximize throughput, decide if a summer special would speed depletion, or a keg change makes more sense.

Days on Hand

Now let’s shift to the beachside bar – and let’s go upscale. While every bar cares about freshness, if your bar is premium-priced, the stakes get higher in terms of customer experience and freshness is at the top of the checklist. There may not be another data point more critical than “days on hand”. Introducing technology can create visibility to each keg, how long it’s been in your cooler and protects you from placing near-expired (or expired) product on tap. Newer, cloud-based inventory systems for draft programs can help your managers track how long a keg has been sitting in the cooler as well as its expiration date. Getting dashboard-style visibility to this data without visiting the cooler helps make better decisions when distributors show up with special offers or when conducting on deck planning.

Throughput Analysis

Warmer weather typically impacts consumer buying behavior in your bar no matter where you are located. Interest in “variety” increases. Lower ABV products and beers with lighter, crisper, and more refreshing flavor notes often increase in velocity. Tracking your throughput by product attributes (like ABV%, style, and flavor category) instead of just looking at sales will unlock insight into your guests’ buying patterns. Technology that helps your team analyze product attributes helps improve ordering and allows them to see what drives throughput. If your throughput analysis is showing trending toward lower ABV, fruit-forward taste profiles and away from “richer” profiles, you can quickly target more successful offerings across a range of styles, including kegged cocktails. Now you have both variety, and better predictability of higher throughput.

Your bar is generating highly valuable data from the moment inventory enters your operation until the customer is served. Much of that data is now simpler than ever to capture and analyze, and can serve very practical profit-improving purposes. Much of that data is actionable – allowing team members to make better decisions that delight customers and optimize results for your organization.

About the Author

Lori Bolin is the President and Chief Strategy Officer for BrewLogix, a technology solutions company influencing the next trajectory of growth in the beverage hospitality and craft brew industries. The company uses the unique insights of cloud-powered and Internet of Things (IoT) technology to help bars, restaurants, taprooms, and breweries elevate customer and staff experiences that drive profitability and brand loyalty. Lori serves as the visionary for the BrewLogix ecosystem and is the primary product consultant for the company’s newly released Performance Platform designed specifically for the on premise environment. In addition to her passionate work in the hospitality industry, Ms. Bolin is the owner of a private consulting firm that focuses on creating competitive advantage for small-to-mid-market businesses through strategic innovation. She is also co-owner of Crossroads Kombucha, a craft kombucha brewery in the Midwest. She is a Certified Beer Server in  the Cicerone® Program and has served as a judge with Kombucha Brewers International.    Website | LinkedIn


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