September 10, 2014
Provenance is the event horizon authenticating a product’s journey from start to finish.
History, heritage, pedigree; serve as the assurance to guarantee consumers favourable experiences.
With consumers increasingly becoming more curious about health impacts of food and drink, will more attention flow towards greater product transparency...?
The WHERE (it’s from) will become less important than the WHAT (it’s made of!)
Grab any soft drink can, beer bottle and most packaged food, flip it around to discover a long list of chemical ingredients. Everything is there to be seen from how much sugar, fat, preservatives etc. etc. is used.
The broader thought: informed consumers make better decisions!
If you’ve got an allergy, a health issue.... diabetes, heart disease, weight or cholesterol issues: read a product’s “discovery label” to decide whether that product may have harmful impacts!
Taking this thought one step further: will activist consumers make demands on regulators to enforce stringent labelling transparency on more product categories?In the not too distant future, could pressure be forced on the Wine industry to declare contents and chemical composition of Wine? What would the spill-over effects be on the Spirit industry?
Under these circumstances can the most pure Spirit brands still advertise as being the most pure, the most natural if a chemical analysis is forced onto its outer packaging.
Could new Prohibitionists (the anti-liquor lobby) force greater alcohol restrictions and higher taxes in the pursuit of their self-righteousness?
Here’s a thought: governments (in a democracy) require Legislation to restrict or prohibit things, however it’s the public service at the behest of Government who can proscribe regulations (declaring something to be or not to be) bypassing the legislative process and public scrutiny!
When the day comes for the Wine and Spirits industry to become label transparent, marketing fundamentals relied upon for hundreds of years will also change from amazing storytelling, mystique, provenance and pedigree to that of plain old cardboard facts?
September 04, 2014
Bartending in particular or hospitality in general have had issues attracting and retaining talent.
The last 10 years have demonstrated demand for work exceeds supply – a healthy situation to maintain fair hourly rates!
Professional bartenders have prospered, achieving great careers, status and opportunity.
Could this change?
The answers regrettably is a resounding YES!
It’s a matter of supply… massive oversupply!
An ageing population!
The employment effect throughout the western world has always relied on one generation retiring, making room for the next.
So what’s changing?
People are either deferring or electing not to retire – impacting the next generation of graduating University students to secure positions within the area they’ve studied.
Multiply this worldwide, and successive generations of graduates are taking longer and longer to find a starting position.
Competition is Everywhere
Competition is not limited to the talent pool in just one country any more it’s anywhere... just need internet access.
So what happens to students who can’t find a chosen career job, will they do the next best thing and look for something in the meantime!
Here’s a thought: graduating Uni grads working in hospitality who can’t find work may need to hold on to what they’ve got until something better comes up… if it ever does!
Imagine for a moment, if more and more graduating students seek shelter in hospitality – what happens to the school leavers who normally drift towards hospitality as their last resort?
Will the very educated be more attractive to a prospective employer than a less educated school leaver, assuming similar pay levels?
As a prospective employer who would you choose to serve your business and your customers the best?
Whatever the outcome more people will look towards hospitality as their permanent income source –maybe the time will come when they’ll be more available talent than jobs to go around. The law of supply and demand will create downward pressure on everyone’s hourly rates! We see this now in many other industries... So hospitality is next!
An ageing population, a glut of educated unplaced talent is a reality right now.
Hold on tight as the future is being quietly typed – we’re just not hearing it………yet!
August 28, 2014
Repetitive Strain Injury or Occupational Overuse Syndrome are injuries becoming increasingly common amongst bartenders.
Injuries involve... fingers, hands, wrists, elbows and shoulders.
Many of the underlying causes of workplace injury can be traced back to:
- Poor legacy tool design pre-dating Prohibition.
Legacy design implies unquestioning continuation of bad design based on the weight of history (that’s the way it’s always been) rather than the evolution of human workplace reform centred around the physical and comfort requirements of bartenders. Funnily most all other areas in and around a working bar have improved... except the most obvious, the tools, bartenders use.
When hospitality experiences are centred around the guest, then the show, well, should it not come as a surprise whose last... the bartender!
The other significant contributing factor, NEVER spoken about is PRICE!
No sane manufacturer will innovate when its customers mandate cheaper and cheaper pricing; ease-of-use and comfort will always be sacrificed.
Sadly when these 2 factors combine the fate of countless generations of bartenders is set; suffering years of endless pain.
So what’s changing:
- More people making bartending their profession/lifelong commitment with injury accumulating progressively over time, rather than disappearing with the ins and outs of successive generations of bartenders.
- Workplace health and safety concerns morphing into accepted RIGHTS!
- Social networks acting as amplifiers to exchange ideas and discussion etc.
Industry leaders such as Dushan Zaric, Simon Ford, Jacob Briars, Angus Winchester and Simon Difford have introduced injury into the bartender lexicon... whilst they all highlight the issues and some physical relief... the long term solution of innovation, ease-of-use design is missed... Is it a case of why bother with things that aren’t valued?
This became the calling which became the point where Überbartools™ journey started years back! Now that’s a whole other discussion!
So then let’s look at the Consequences, Culprits and Changes of Work Place injury. (Part 2 to follow next week)
August 21, 2014
Innovation is broadly defined as: something newly introduced... a new method or device.
Über’s own innovation process emanates from a deep desire to make a difference; helping people achieve better outcomes!
Fears, frustrations, pain and loss are strong motivators to encourage quest seekers to go off and discover new ways of helping people do things!
Arising outcomes can be measured via health and safety benefits, speed and efficiency improvements, aesthetics, consistency, ease of use etc.
Consider crowd-funding vehicles such as Kickstarter, as the perfect platform requiring us to believe and then go off and do something, like commit!
Ultimately the movement from “nothing to doing” comes down to crossing a bridge… the white space between which innovation and relationship live… we call that trust!
August 15, 2014
In a time where resources are limited, people are increasingly concerned with the environmental impact of each and every consumption decision!
To understand how we reached this point we first must revisit history.
Back in the 1940/50’s when mass manufacturing was first conceived the platform it was built around was based on planned obsolescence i.e. product failure.
Why has failure been so successful? We think the answer’s straightforward: when it breaks, wears out, fails, you’ve gotta buy a new one! Read, spend more money again!
Thankfully in the 21st century our thinking has evolved, in part due to disruption caused by innovation such as “the sharing economy” where services are shared/hired/leased... think of SAAS, Uber (taxis), Airbnb, Task Rabbit etc.
Whilst the examples just mentioned solve ownership issues, what’s not being addressed is the bigger issue attributed to legacy design... i.e. product failure/obsolescence.
At Über™ we have always believed in innovation... this process starts off by us asking one question: WHY?
Why, does a product need to be thrown away at the end of its life... is that really necessary? If the decision is not really necessary, then how then can this be re-imagined:
The answer we believe is MODULARITY!
Practically, modularity allows for the replacement of an individual part rather than being forced to buy an entire new unit. The cost of the individual part representing a fraction of the price of replacing the whole thing.
Ironically the hospitality business is one about driving costs down, to do so, products must be made cheaper, to meet a buyers price expectation. Imagine on the other hand if we turned this thinking on its head and designed things to solve a user’s or businesses problem, short, long term and sustainably. What type of products would we see? Better ones, we suspect!
We believe the true consequences of product failure are in the main hidden, in the white space no-one wants to see... this by default becomes a form of blind acceptance: ultimately turning failure into it’s own unique trajectory towards more failure.
Failure is therefore a consequence representing a form of business disruption namely, increased costs: continual product replacement, lost productivity, service/delivery inconsistency, added admin/infrastructure costs to manage and overcome the arising failures created by making the initial decision... ultimately creating a savings/cost/consequences paradigm.
Businesses in the not too distant future will look for simpler, more practical solutions to solve on-going problems. Modularity will not be practical in some instances, however on a broader level it will become the practical, cost effective and environmental friendly solution to sustain our businesses!
August 11, 2014
Here’s Über’s TOP 12 bullet proof questions to anchor your due diligence/checklist when evaluating any new product and service which is promised or expected to assist, power, control, transform and run YOUR business!
Too often it’s the failure to ask the right questions leaving you, over-promised and under delivered, ultimately creating frustration and disappointment! Apply these tests, ask these questions you’ll never go wrong!
Staying in control from the get go... you're guaranteed a better chance of ending up with the results you want and expect!
July 31, 2014
The greatest transitioning of bar talent from “tender” to “keeper” is exploding across the planet!
In galactic terms, this is our Big Bang moment, a perfect expanding universe of opportunity!
On the other hand, science warns us: nothing expands forever... at some point, the opposite will occur... it’s called The Big Crunch!
So here’s 6 top tips to help Crunch the numbers, so you‘ll never get Crunched!:
- Finance Person... get one pronto to help with financial plans, budgets, projections. Work out your earliest break-even point and focus daily, weekly and monthly on hitting those numbers.
- Keep costs to a minimum... only spend when you must...always keep your powder dry for another day/time.
- Don’t over invest... whether that’s stock, staff or stuff... always ask the question is this a “must have” or a luxury “nice to have”... base this on your budget/prevailing profitability.
- Work 20% of the things that generates 80% of sales, income, opportunity... everything else leave or delegate.
- Measure everything... including your drinks, staff performance, customer satisfaction levels etc... what’s not measured, is not focused on, what’s not focused on, never happens, this is the Black Hole... sucking everything in its way!
- Metrics... put in place important financial barometers... i.e. costs of goods sold, avg. hourly rates, hours worked, spend per guest, bartender sales. These form part of your biz dash board, knowing at a glance where you are, helps make course corrections, if needed!
Owning your own bar is richly rewarding not to mention empowering... just as a cocktail needs to be consistent i.e. properly portioned and balanced, so a business requires the perfect balance of measures to create the best results!
July 23, 2014
Marketing has always taught us that business success is sustained by loyal customers, generating long term profitability!
Does this concept now significantly change when emotional relationships can be terminated by something as heartless as a text… does this devalue the very meaning of loyalty. Is it Dead?
Regrettably for business owners and managers who still think that “this, begets that and therefore one shall be fruitful and forever multiply” will be in for a rather rude shock!
When the fundamentals of human relationships have changed, then by default, the effect immediately impacts the hospitality and service industries; the people who try to capture, package and amplify broader societal trends!
Think about it, consumer attention spans are plummeting, competition for eyes, throats, backsides are at all-time highs… good gets lost in a maze of distractions; mixed signals turn customer facing interactions into forgettable “transactional” pallor!
Does this mean that an experience lives and dies on its merits, just in that moment! It’s now or maybe never again that an upset, disappointed, underwhelmed customer , judges your business and walks away silently!
How then does the "merit of the moment” impact a guests experience of value (or the perception of it), service levels, staff friendliness, overall attentiveness; determining whether the guest stays for the next drink, possibly a meal?
More importantly, how other than anecdotally do we measure these sometimes unseen/unheard customer pivot points?
There is no one answer, however the smart money suggests a combination of evolving strategies, dependant on the hour, day, week , season, event and occasion!
A likely merger of operational imperatives, continuous and at times repetitive staff training, seamless POS/CRM/smart technology, exemplary staff/consumer interactions, accurate tools to replicate, scale, measure and execute become the must dos to be successful on a moment by moment basis; of course flair, ingenuity and a point of difference are still important engagement tools too.
When you do not have your customer‘s loyalty other than in the moment this then becomes a powerful wake-up call, the catalyst to always be on top of your game: never relaxing, not taking anything for granted ever again!
Get ready now to excel, excite and explore daily! Your business will thank you!
Loyalty now lives in the moment!
July 09, 2014
Have you worked out the connection yet?
The answer is Nestlé... the Swiss-based Global Behemoth.
So then where or what’s the relevance of this Company to the lessons we in hospitality must learn?
Nestlé as a group invests in Innovation, R&D, Premiumisation at an industrial level.. they’re more like Google in owning the good stuff we need to live our lives! Swiss sensibility and deference will never allow for such blatant self-aggrandisement, however why we think this firm is one which holds a key making them the Über of Über... they invest massively in products associated with RITUAL!
Take away Wall Street financials and shareholder info, this Company is totally invested in the most important products tied to ritual, a possible exception, alcohol!
From baby food, children’s beverages, water, coffee, tea, wellness etc. there are multiple rituals attached... quaint customs, social mores and Nestlé is there by our side... and we say that in the most positive way!
We have a lifelong involvement with Nestlé and don’t even know it... and yes, man’s best friend is a happy customer too!
Back to the question then. Why is RITUAL so important to the bigger picture and how can we learn and benefit?Ritual equals connection, emotion, engagement and an experience which combines to create a bond so sticky it lasts. Of course, over many products and categories this effect multiplies! So, what’s the consequence of all of this? A powerful enabling driver of long term profits, sustainability, creating more investment in innovation, employment, community engagement,overall shareholder/stakeholder wealth creation and satisfaction galore!
Whilst “Provenance” or historic romance is oft used in the Liquor industry.. nothing beats the customer’s connection to ritual. I doubt very much that Nestlé reduces it’s customer facing commercial propositions to “Cost Per Shot” conversations rather than a more noble value proposition involving the total return (life time value) that ritual generates!
Ritual provides permission to collect and engage. Name, rank, email address; all given happily, effortlessly, by grateful customers!
Longer term after the dust settles, in the broader disintermediation wars of product and distribution supply lines, guess who’ll be in the position to do it all to your door... and they’ll have a pretty complete understanding of all your wants and most of your desires too!
As either front or back of house facing hospitality businesses, whether we’re enablers or providers there is a value to investing beyond the brief moment... and this is possible when the centre of our universe is our respective customers/guests, by working backwards from that point one can engineer a business loop, that creates fun, occasion, destination and ritual and the end game, you’ll be in business a long time!