As a former event organizer for Toronto’s food and drink events, I’ve had the opportunity to build tasting events with local businesses while also transforming the city’s growing passion for gourmet poutine and grilled cheese sandwiches into some of the most anticipated local food festivals.
Nearly 5 out of 10 millennials now refer to themselves as “foodies”
It’s no surprise that food and drink events are becoming increasingly more popular around the world as consumers become more educated and passionate about tasting and discovering great food and drink. In fact, nearly 5 out of 10 millennials now refer to themselves as “foodies” and 52% of millennials would rather go to a food festival than a music festival.
The Future of Food and Drink Events is Cashless Payments
Traditionally, food, wine and beer festivals use paper or plastic token systems as a form of event currency for on-site purchases. While tokens make sense for certain live events, cashless payment technology is a sophisticated alternative that can improve transaction times, reduced lineups, and eliminate loss of money.
Cashless payment methods use RFID-enabled devices such as a wristband or card that allow guests to pre-load event funds into their account and make purchases with a simple tap of their wrist. From happier guests to boosted revenues, let’s look at the top 7 reasons why food and drink event organizers choose cashless payment technology:
1) Reduce Lineups and Improve Guest Experience
Food, wine and beer festivals are known for their dizzying maze of lineups for everything from food to drinks as well as tokens and bathrooms. While cashless payments won’t cut queues for the bathroom, it does eliminate the need for tokens altogether.
Cashless payments provide a fast, convenient, and secure alternative to cash or tokens. Guests have more time to interact with vendors and explore the latest and greatest gastronomic fare and spirits offered at the festival.
Cashless payments also reduces patron wait times for food and drink by allowing for seamless payments with the tap of the wrist. Guests no longer sample food from the shortest lines, they can enjoy the dish they crave most.
2) Adds a Unique Twist to Food and Drink Fests
RFID cashless technology can elevate a standard food and drink festival into a truly unique experience. Take the Taste of Toronto, a four-day culinary event highlighting the true flavours of the local food scene.
For us, it takes cash out of the equation and it creates an opportunity to have a relationship with our guests, which is ideal. – Ian Hill.
With over 25,000 food lovers in attendance, the festival implemented its own official dining currency called “crowns,” which were loaded onto RFID-enabled Taste Cards used at restaurants and bars on site. Taste Cards were loaded with money pre-event and top-up stations were located throughout the event.
“For us, it takes cash out of the equation and it creates an opportunity to have a relationship with our guests, which is ideal,” said Ian Hill, front of house captain for Taste of Toronto vendor, Splendido.
3) Increases in On-Site Spending
Unhappy or impatient consumers spend less money. Going cashless means guests no longer need to wait in line for the ATM or sort through food and drink tickets. And those faster transaction times allow guest to experience the moment – and the food and drinks.
As a matter of fact, our closed-loop cashless payment system has been proven to increase on-site guest spending by 30% with some clients seeing boosts of up to 48%, largely due to speedier transaction times and reduced queues at top-up and vendor stations.
4) Eliminate Theft and Loss
RFID electronic chip technology can be embedded into a wristband, card, or lanyard to make it easy for patrons to navigate through food and drink vendors at festivals. If a registered RFID wristband is lost or stolen, it can immediately be deactivated and replaced without any lost credit. That’s something that just can’t happen with lost tokens or cash. If you lose your cash, you’re not getting it back.
5) Stay in Control of Event Funds and Reconciliation
Have you dreamed of having every dollar accounted for? Cashless technology eliminates counting errors that can happen with cash or tokens while also reducing processing times and staffing costs. This is particularly helpful at large-scale events with thousands of tokens to count – think of all the time and resources that’ll be saved!
But the real beauty is in the reconciliation process. With RFID, event organizers are fully in control of the money. Traditional reconciliation can take months, but cashless allows event organizers to distribute funds in a fraction of the time while also providing guest refunds for any leftover unused credit.
6) Put the Focus Back on Food and Drink
Gastronomic events should be a celebration of food and drink discovery, not a stressful and exhausting experience for organizers, vendors, and especially the patrons.
“IntelliPay dramatically reduces queuing time, gives patrons control over spending, allows vendors to increase efficiency and ultimately profits, thereby enhancing the entire experience,” says Intellitix CEO Serge Grimaux. “It’s perfect for an event where the emphasis is on sampling exquisite wine, drinks and food as it provides patrons with more time to enjoy the quality products offered.”
There should be no barrier to patrons wanting to spend more if they wish to. Moving to a fast, cashless payment method can save a lot of headache and result in greater efficiencies at food and drink event.
7) Improve Future Events with Big Data
When events go cashless, they’re also opting for detailed audience insights that just aren’t available in a cash or token-based environment.
RFID-enabled technology lets event organizers know exactly where their audience is spending their money through real-time reporting. The advanced technology will digitally record transactional details including top-ups, item SKU, merchant location, POS terminal, date and time, and individual wristband UID.
These comprehensive insights allow event organizers to ask (and answer) the tough questions like: Which best-selling vendors and menu items do we want to continue with? What was the average spend per head and how do we increase this? How do we maximize overall profits next year?
By re-engaging with patrons’ post-event through targeted email offers including pre-sale tickets, discounted merchandise swag, new product releases, in-store or online coupons and more, event organizers can also leverage event data and turn guests into high-spending customers.
Check out what event organizers, vendors and patrons have to say about cashless technology from Utah Beer Festival or watch our case study of Taste of Toronto below: