Blog Post

The Future Is Here: Why Self-Serve Bars Are Here To Stay in 2024

Last Updated: May 24, 2024

Last updated in March 2024

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.

Technology and POS System Integration

Combining WineEmotion with your POS System offers a complete solution for managing your wine bar, enabling you to maximize operational efficiency and enhance the customer experience. Here are some of the key benefits of this integration:

GoTab Terminals
  • Consumption tracking: Thanks to WineIdea, you can easily track the quantities of wine consumed through your WineEmotion dispensers. This feature allows you to monitor consumption trends, identify the most popular wines, and make informed decisions about stock replenishment.
  • Discounts and Happy Hours: WineIdea lets you set up special discounts and promotions, including happy hours, to boost sales and build customer loyalty. These discounts can be automatically applied to wine purchases via WineEmotion distributors, providing a seamless, customer-friendly experience.
  • POS integration: WineIdea integrates seamlessly with your existing point-of-sale (POS) system, simplifying transaction management and data synchronization. This integration enables centralized management of wine sales and greater visibility of your wine bar’s overall performance.
  • Reporting and Analysis: With WineIdea, you have access to detailed reports on wine sales, consumption trends, and wine bar performance. This analytical data helps you identify opportunities for improvement, adjust your pricing strategy, and optimize the profitability of your business.

In short, the integration of WineEmotion with WineIdea and your POS system offers a complete solution for the efficient and profitable management of your wine bar. Thanks to these innovative tools, you can offer your customers an exceptional experience while maximizing your operational efficiency and boosting sales. Discover the benefits of this integration today by exploring our solutions in our online store.

How Much Does It Cost to Open a Self-Serve Wine Bar?

Of course, it is impossible to give a precise price as many factors come into play. Here are all the costs to consider for a future project of self-serve wine bar:

Location: The cost of renting or purchasing a suitable space for your wine bar can vary greatly depending on factors such as the city, neighborhood, size, and condition of the property. Leasing a commercial space typically involves upfront costs such as security deposits and leasehold improvements.

Licensing and Permits: You’ll need to obtain various licenses and permits to operate a wine bar legally. This may include alcohol licenses, health permits, zoning permits, and business licenses, which can vary in cost depending on your location and regulatory requirements.

Equipment and Furnishings: Essential equipment for a self-serve wine bar includes wine dispensing systems, furniture, POS systems, and other operational equipment. The cost of equipment can vary depending on the quality, brand, and specifications.

Interior Design and Décor: Creating an inviting atmosphere is essential for a wine bar, so you’ll likely need to invest in interior design and décor elements such as lighting, seating, décor, signage, and branding materials.

Marketing and Promotion: Launching and promoting your wine bar will require investments in marketing and advertising activities such as website development, social media marketing, print materials, and promotional events.

Staffing: You’ll need to budget for salaries, wages, and training for your staff, including bartenders, servers, and possibly kitchen staff depending on your food offerings.

These are the main expenses, it’s up to you to put a figure on the project you want in the place you want it.

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.

FAQ About Self-Serve Bar

How do Self-Serve Bars Work?

The principle of a self-service bar is that the customer is autonomous in the establishment. After having credited his account, he is free to serve himself his glass of wine by choosing the bottle of his choice displayed in the window and served by the wine dispenser. He chooses his wine and the quantity he wants. He pay directly with card or wristband that uses RFID technology to run their tab

Can you Finance a Wine Dispensing System?

You can finance your wine dispenser system with your partner Approve. On our financing page you can create a financing application to see the monthly payments. 

Do You Tip at Self-Service Wine Stations?

Tipping at a self-serve bar is not mandatory since there’s no direct service provided by bartenders or servers. However, when you credit your wristband or card, you have opportunity to leave a tips.

What Makes a Wine Bar Stand Out?

Wine bars and self-service wine bars are distinguished from traditional bars by their unique wine selection, location, store concept, atmosphere and ambience.

As their are preserve in wine preservation system, you can discover prestigious wines without breaking the bank by buying a whole bottle. The ambiance and atmosphere is different. You can walk and talk to everyone or come with your friends, it’s a place to socialize. 

How does a Self Pour Taproom Work?

All the wine are available and ready to be dispense in the wine dispenser. After to have credited your account, you just have to select the wine you want in pushing the button and choose the quantity.