IT Science Case Study: Keeping Sports Bar Customers Engaged

Managers needed to engage consumers with the right product mix, pricing and interests in the individual restaurant locations of a large (1,300-plus locations) sports bar chain. So HEROfi came to the rescue.

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Here is the latest article in the eWEEK feature series called IT Science, in which we look at what actually happens at the intersection of new-gen IT and legacy systems.

Unless it’s brand new and right off various assembly lines, servers, storage and networking inside every IT system can be considered “legacy.” This is because the iteration of both hardware and software products is speeding up all the time. It’s not unusual for an app-maker, for example, to update and/or patch for security purposes an application a few times a month, or even a week. Some apps are updated daily! Hardware moves a little slower, but manufacturing cycles are also speeding up.

These articles describe new-gen industry solutions. The idea is to look at real-world examples of how new-gen IT products and services are making a difference in production each day. Most of them are success stories, but there will also be others about projects that blew up. We’ll have IT integrators, system consultants, analysts and other experts helping us with these as needed.

Today’s Topic: Keeping Sports Bar Customers Engaged While Socializing

Name the problem to be solved: Managers needed to engage consumers with the right product mix, pricing and interests in the individual restaurant locations of a large (1,300-plus locations) sports bar chain.

Describe the strategy that went into finding the solution: Retail marketing software provider HEROfi created Draftboard, an accurate digital representation of available food and beer in every location on large format displays. Items were combined in differently priced packages; these were tested. Various national and local sports scores and statistics were integrated to trigger local promotions and incentives.

List the key components in the solution:

  • HEROFi’s Guest Experience Platform software suite
  • HEROFi media players
  • Amazon’s AWS stack, particularly Lambda
  • Sportsradar’s Live Sports Scores service
  • Beerboard’s real-time inventory system for location beer availability

Describe how the deployment went, perhaps how long it took, and if it came off as planned: Vlad Edelman, founder and CEO of HEROFi, said the initial roll-out of Draftboard took six to eight weeks to install in 400-plus locations. The full roll-out was scheduled by the client to take 18 to 24 months, but it was available in all 1,300-plus locations within six months. The product rolled out as planned, with work going into refining data templates, data integrity and update times, visual appeal and visibility.

The “Watch & Win’ live sports promotions component took six months to develop and covers 38 different sports globally. Triggers worked as planned and positively impacted check size and dwell time.

Describe the result, new efficiencies gained, and what was learned from the project: Draftboard directly impacted sales by bringing a highly visible digital representation of available beer into each individual location (each location pours a slightly different mix, adding up to 18,000 individual SKUs).

Machine learning-powered product packaging impacted sales by tracking conversion and effectiveness based on location, demographics, product mix, and other factors.

“Watch & Win” impacted check size and dwell time by engaging consumers in a “meta-game” and instantly rewarding consumers for being in a physical location when certain criteria were met.

Describe ROI, carbon footprint savings, and staff time savings, if any: ROI was primarily measured in a structured analysis of before/after data, and year-over-year data. Beer sales are particularly high margin, making sales impact very valuable.

Other benefits included consumer engagement with surroundings making for longer dwell and spend; and promotions/marketing done in an automated and relevant way, but without adding more work or complexity to local staff.

If you have a suggestion for an eWEEK IT Science article, email cpreimesberger@eweek.com.

Chris Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger is Editor-in-Chief of eWEEK and responsible for all the publication's coverage. In his 13 years and more than 4,000 articles at eWEEK, he has distinguished himself in reporting...