The Future Is Here: Why Self-Serve Bars Are Here To Stay

Photo of Culinary Institute of America's Wine Wall Courtesy of Wineemotion USA

Nowadays, restaurants are getting very creative in how they continue to adapt to life after COVID-19 and changing customer preferences. It's not enough to offer a great selection of wine because some people expect an entirely different experience than the one they enjoyed before the pandemic. Your challenge as a restaurant owner is figuring out what will make a guest's experience more memorable while also staying in line with public health and safety measures.

That's one reason why self-serve bars are opening up more frequently across the country, especially in parts of the country where winemaking is a vital part of the community. Not only do self-serve wine dispensers give the establishment a modern, sleek atmosphere, but they're also great for controlling inventory costs, mainly keeping the wine fresh for a much longer period than storing it the usual way.

But the question moving forward is this: are self-service wine bars here to stay, or is the trend only a temporary fad to help with COVID-19? As you might expect, we believe that they are here to stay, so we'll go over exactly why we think so throughout the remainder of this post.

Ultimately, no matter how you look at it, there’s little doubt that self-serve bars and wine dispensers are worth the investment after you break everything down and outline the benefits.

Introduction to Self-Serve Wine Bars

There's no shortage of wine storage technology available on the market, so you may not have a clear idea of what a self-serve wine bar actually is. Essentially, it's like a standard wine bar only; instead of serving wine by the glass manually, you use a stand-alone, automated device to pour your own wine instead at the push of a button. Overall, it sounds pretty simple at a glance, but there's more to it than that.

For some bar owners, self-serve wine dispensers may be the only option to keep their businesses afloat since the pandemic isn't technically over. Nevertheless, the cost benefits alone are worth giving dispensers a try, especially when you open a new bar for the first time. It's okay not to know what to expect because no restaurant entrepreneur gets everything right from the start. You have to learn some hard lessons along the way, such as why it's so advantageous to take the self-pour route instead of operating the traditional way.

Those are the basic benefits from your perspective as the owner, but what about self-service from your guest’s perspective? Do guests even want to use new technology like this?

Photo Courtesy of Laguna Canyon Winery

In a nutshell, guests will appreciate the added convenience since they won't have to get their server’s attention when they need a refill. Instead, they can casually walk over to the self-pour system, choose their wine, pay for it the spot, or add it to their tab. None of those capabilities are possible when you rely on bartenders and servers to open, pour, and store wine.

Still, an interesting phenomenon at self-serve wine bars across the country is that guests feel that the devices make the restaurants or bars look more modern and give the whole room a different atmosphere. Usually, these types of businesses have an old-world theme, but self-serve devices are changing the usual playbook.

Since self-serve wine dispensers save so much space at the front of the house, some wine bars have taken advantage and opened up the room, giving guests ample space to walk around and mingle with other wine drinkers. Traditional wine bars try to go for that kind of ambiance all the time, yet few are successful without a way to save space while also keeping up with or increasing sales volume.

That's really what we're talking about when it comes to wine dispenser technology: you're ready when you start to become so successful that speed of service is vital to maintaining your brand. It's also standard fare for wine bars to carry dozens, if not over a hundred, different wines. Still, there are practicalities involved that many entrepreneurs don't account for, such as storage temperature and relative humidity.

You can open up an extensive wine bar with plenty of space and hire a terrific staff that gets the job done every night, yet if you can't operate efficiently, you're shooting yourself in the foot before you ever pour a single glass. If you have to choose between operations and how much room guests have to enjoy their experience, most wine bar owners take the easy way out and try to find inventive ways to stay on top of sales volume.

Besides, it's not so easy to satisfy every type of wine drinker in one establishment in the first place, so now, we'll go over the top five wine drinking personas to give you a better idea of how you can use self-pour technology to your advantage from a sales and marketing perspective.

Successful Self-Service Wine Bars in the U.S.

The next question is this: how are businesses finding success with the self-pour model? The answer is that they are finding ways to keep costs low while not sacrificing guests’ experience. Indeed, these three self-service wine bars are taking the lead and showing what’s possible if you go with wine dispensers and wine dispensing technologies.

Roots – Houston, Texas

Photo Courtesy of Roots Wine Bar

There’s certainly no shortage of restaurants in and around Houston, Texas, so it’s no surprise that Roots is gaining national attention. They’re the first restaurant and wine bar in the city to embrace self-pour technology, and it’s been a boon to their sales. Not only that, but automated wine dispensers have helped the establishment to create a fun and unique way to market its wide selection of wines by the taste, sip, and glass.

Island Vintage Wine Bar – Honolulu, Hawaii

Photo Courtesy of Island Vintage Wine Bar

Across the Pacific, Island Vintage Wine Bar sees similar success after deploying self-pour technology. As you might expect, finding wine in Hawaii isn't exactly easy, and if you can find it, it's pricey. So, Island Vintage Wine Bar saw an opportunity to serve a need, and their success speaks for itself. They carry dozens upon dozens of varietals, and self-pouring allows their patrons to sample and enjoy a wider variety than usual.

Shaker & Vine – Schenectady, New York

Photo Courtesy of Shaker and Vine

Lastly, we come to Shake & Vine, located in Mohawk Harbor. Here, self-service dispensers have allowed the bar to appeal to a broader market. The area is mostly affluent, so providing a more sophisticated experience than usual is critical. Indeed, self-pour wine suits this market well because guests want to feel comfortable when they order and enjoy wine. That’s a major reason why this place has been so successful.

Why You Should Consider a WineEmotion System for Your New Wine Bar

Up to this point, we've outlined the essentials of why self-service bars are here to stay. No matter how you look at it, the challenge will be oping up a bar and appealing to the people you want to serve.

You need a comprehensive way e to keep inventory in check, among other things. The risk is that you'll have no other choice but to throw out valuable wine spoils simply because it was never stored correctly. You have to take care of wine to get the most profit, so that's why one of our WineEmotion dispensers would work great.

A wine dispenser by WineEmotion gives you a better way to store, preserve, and serve wine. Not only are the devices easy to use, but they’re also great for enhancing the guest experience with new technology.

The truth is that people can get a glass of wine anywhere, so why should they visit your business instead of another bar down the street? post-COVID, you have to give your customers a clear reason why you're the better choice, and self-pour devices are a good fit.

Photo Courtesy of Laguna Canyon Winery

Furthermore, a WineEmotion self-service dispenser is an excellent way to save valuable floor space. From your perspective, you may assume that everyone has enough room to mingle until you actually start to sell wine. As a solution, WineEmotion devices can store as many as eight bottles per unit. They will also preserve wine for much more extended periods since the system uses compressed gas to seal bottles between servings.

You can keep wine for as long as 30 days – or more. And the wine will still taste great, and it doesn't lose any aromas. Also, WineEmotion products come with automatic cleaning capabilities, and software features too.

Having a wine dispenser by the glass is one thing, but integration with your current software is another consideration entirely. Today, the best dispensers integrate well with the most popular restaurants and bar software. Even better, you can keep track of stock down to the ounce if you choose rather than guessing how much remains in each bottle.

Ultimately, you can leverage technology to open up a bustling, active wine bar. All it takes is the right tools, the right equipment, and a means to keep costs low while providing first-class service and an even better ambiance. Are you ready to learn more about what else a WineEmotion dispenser by the glass can do? Click to see industry-grade solutions at our online shop and join the future of self-service bars.

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