A Man Walks Into a Bar: Bar Technology is No Joke (Business of Fun #12)
A Man Walks Into a Bar…
Although “walks into a bar” jokes may never go out of style, the process in which one actually walks into a bar has changed radically.
“Do you like our new lamps?”
That was the question the bartender at the Hillstone on East 53rd Street asked us. I hadn’t really noticed, but I suddenly became aware of how the lighting level totally changes the mood of a bar. Dim lighting, mellow jazz, and the muted hum of conversation was the theme of the evening. Had we been at the BMW Mini Rooftop we could have been treated to a light show. Or, had we been at Inamo in London we could have electronically customized our table linen.
Whereas bar patrons once had very few options beyond the type of beverage they wanted and if they wanted their martinis shaken or stirred, the bar-going experience has become just that — a customized experience, thanks to technology.
Assuming today’s man (or woman) isn’t just just playing Pokemon Go, the flow goes something like this…
- First, the man needs to research the bar or club (Yelp, Open Table, travel sites, or drink-specific apps like Untappd).
- Perhaps his date for the evening was found on one of thousands of apps. (The revenue generated by Tinder alone is staggering. See this recent article from Reuters.)
- Then, he can make a reservation using a site like Tablelist or search for free drinks with an app like Hooch.
- Once this man arrives at the bar, he can see who else is in the area, using his phone. He can check in, shoot or film his cocktail (or even tell the story of his entire night on social media, using Instagram or Snapchat).
- That’s just the basic use of technology. He can order his drink from his phone, choose what music he wants to hear on the jukebox, take selfies on a social media-enabled photo booth, adjust the lighting with the speed of his dancing, and charge his phone (but he may have to pay for that). One day, the virtual reality rave may seem like a big yawn for this man.
- Meanwhile, at the door the management has used high-tech surveillance and monitoring techniques to ensure the man is of drinking age. They can even ensure that “undesireable guests” don’t enter their establishments. Bar owners are also using technology to measure pours, take inventory, and monitor schedules and payroll.
- Perhaps most important, the bar owner may knows who walked into his bar or even is walking by his bar (using Beacons) and can use highly-personalized content marketing techniques (including e-marketing, social media, and customized offers) to prompt him to visit again.
Of course, the man can still unplug and avoid technology all together and just go out for an ice cold beer on a warm day. But then, after he’s done, he may feel compelled to rate it on one of these 12 apps. Not a joke…just the reality of the impact of technology on even the simplest things in our brave new bar world!
But this writer was just content letting the bartender know that I like the new lamps.
P.S. If you need no-joke recommendations on how to incorporate useful and next-generation technology into your business or marketing (if you own a bar or any other kind of business!) please contact us! And please subscribe to our blog for more about the business of fun (and other interesting things). And for a truly unique experience, invite us to speak at your next conference or company gathering!