Keep Customers Plugged In

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Bartenders and bar owners are no strangers to the sounds of phones going off in their establishments. It’s no question that we’ve become a heads-down, feed-scrolling, thumb-happy society. But all that phone use inevitably leads to drained batteries and panic at the thought of not having enough juice for the phone capabilities that inherently matter, such as checking train schedules, arranging for a ride home from the bar, etc.

That means patrons will be searching for a place to charge up, and your bartenders will be bombarded with a litany of questions all too familiar.

“On a daily basis they’re getting asked by customers if they can charge their phone anywhere,” says Stassi Popov, founder of Veloxity, a supplier of cell phone charging stations and kiosks. “That’s sort of what we hear all the time; people nagging the staff like, ‘Where can I charge my phone?’ or, ‘Can you charge my phone behind the bar?’”

Bars have begun to step up to this challenge by implementing on-premise charging stations where groups, especially millennials, often spend their time.

Take Veloxity, for instance, a company founded in 2013 by millennials themselves: Stassi Popov and his brother Lucky Popov. Frustrated by their own experiences of going out at night with limited battery life on their phones, they sought to pursue an idea to
create a phone-charging kiosk for public spaces.

“We would go out and about—bars, restaurants, you name it—and we’d find ourselves without battery,” explains Stassi. “And it was a problem. In terms of getting in touch with friends, even getting a ride back home.”

After brainstorming a few charging products commercially and then testing them out in Boston, the rest was history.

Veloxity is now home to an array of seven products that cater to different industries. Their two main products are an 8 Locker Charging Kiosk and
a Portable Phone Charging Station. The latter model is the one that comes recommended by Stassi for bars and restaurants, especially due to its flexibility and affordability.

“It can be put anywhere,” says Stassi. “On top of the bar, behind the bar… really anywhere. Eight portable chargers are in there charging. If anybody needs a charge, they can just get picked up, and the cables are built into the chargers so they can just plug in and charge on-the-go.”

Stassi says that some bars provide this service for free, while others may charge a small fee to a customer’s tab to rent it out. Veloxity will see a checkout system on their end to ensure customers will bring back the PowerPax, but if not, the PowerPax will only function if charged in its designated bay—virtually eliminating the need to worry about theft issues.

Not only does having a phone-charging system provide convenience to bar staff and customers, it also eliminates any liability that comes
with having a phone behind the bar.

“It becomes an inconvenience for the employees [to charge phones] because now they have to deal with something that shouldn’t necessarily have to be their responsibility,” says Stassi. “Now you’re talking liability.

“What if something happens to that phone? You know, it could get spilled on, damaged, stolen, you name it. So the benefits are that you’re going to have operational efficiency: an actual process for charging phones.”

The charging systems also increase retention rate. “If somebody has a dead phone, they may leave, they may walk away and end their night short. Now, if there’s a charging solution available at the bar, they may stay longer and spend more.”

Stassi also mentions that bar owners can take advantage of Veloxity’s custom branding options to display menus, specials, or even just their establishment’s logo on the charging systems to incorporate an opportunity for advertising.

However, Veloxity is just one of the many innovators offering mobile-charging solutions.PluggedIn2

InCharged, a self-proclaimed female and minority business-owned company, headed by CEO Jessica Gonzalez, also delivers efficient charging technology with their products built in their own Union, New Jersey warehouse.

The manufacturer carries over ten different charging models to suit your needs for rent or purchase. The Flex line of products feature both tabletop and free-standing charging stations suitable for bars and restaurants with a 20-inch HD screen to display videos or images. They can charge up to 12 devices at a time.

The station’s charging tips support most Apple and Android devices, but bar owners can also include an additional charging cord in its extra open port just in case.

Much like Veloxity’s 8 Locker Phone Charging Kiosk, the digital screen provides the perfect opportunity to boast menu specials, upcoming events, and the like. Per InCharged, it can also be used to sell advertising space to third-party sponsors for an additional revenue stream.

Another multifunctional model includes their Charging Table, which resembles a cocktail table at 44 inches high and comes fully equipped with nine smartphone charging cables, six USB ports, and three A/C outlets.

The table offers a shelf to place devices on with a layer of smooth, tempered glass above it, which serves as the tabletop as well as protection from any spills. This allows bar patrons a chance to charge up their devices without sacrificing a nice, cold brew.

According to InCharged, 84% of people say they can’t go a day without using their phone and often will head home to recharge rather than enjoy a night out.

If your business could offer a low-cost solution that prevents your patrons from leaving and could actually double the length of their stay, why not offer it?

By Andria Park

Photos (top to bottom): InCharged, Veloxity.

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