Data science for pubs and bars

Trouble brewing? Data science may have the answer

 

 

  • Locked-in to decline?

 

 

Every year CAMRA reports a precipitous reduction in pub numbers, as coffee shops and restaurants take over the high street. Changing consumption habits & the rise of pre-drinking as off-trade prices stay low. Shorter bursts of leisure time for the increasingly squeezed and time-poor commuter result in increased socialising over coffee rather than a long leisurely trip to the snooker club or bingo hall (in those categories, decline was closer to 40% between 2011-2016). There are winners and losers – with the winners consistently using EPOS data to optimise inventory and make better buying decisions.

 

 

  • We’ve seen it first hand

 

 

The impact of business rates rises affecting so many of Vuzo’s retail customers. Those same customers have urged us to develop solutions for them that put data insights in their hands so they can make decisions from historical data and claw back some advantage under tough trading conditions.

 

In terms of stress, man-hours and the potential for costly mistakes, the top task for publicans is checking inventory. Now if you’re doing this diligently and putting the time & effort in, wouldn’t it be nice to reap some additional benefits from good record keeping? Data analysis gives you the inside track on these trends when there are way too many lines in the spreadsheet to eyeball. 

 

And from a marketing perspective, it’s no longer about a broad brush and hitting your email list with the same message over and over again. It’s about getting smarter with the customers who are engaged and profitable, and finding more of them. 

 

 

  • Risks and shocks in 2020

 

 

Everyone’s watching the effect of Brexit on labour availability, import prices and disposable income. On a more immediate level the risks are buying the wrong stock, or worse, missing out on sales opportunities by running out of stock at peak times. Missing the boat on marketing trends or not keeping up with your core market as their taste changes is another worry, while watching sales dwindle and the quiet patches get bigger.

 

 

  • What does data analysis offer?

 

 

The perfect scenario looks like monthly buying decisions informed by good analysis of EPOS till data and spotting trends in consumption and product without spending sleepless nights hunched over spreadsheets and graphs. Historical data that gives grounds for experimenting with new orders and giving alerts if bottles are disappearing. Spotting the patterns in bar customers, food customers, sports customers matched up to the music, event, or bank holiday schedule. And using that data to take the guesswork out of the beer order or the call to the talent agency.

 

The ideal end-game is using light-weight data science to get a single customer view out of what looks like a very big audience with a lot of moving parts, and then boosting your return on marketing and event spend to make it more efficient. Working out how each customer type responds to promotions and knowing when they’re likely to be in the venue so you can give them what they want and keep them coming back. 

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