The Toolbox of Emerging Accounts

November 10, 2022 | By Cody Henson, Account Support Manager with PayBev™

If you ask ten different people their definition of an emerging account, you will likely get ten different answers. These definitions might include the number of units that are in operation or how many states they operate in or annual volume of beverage alcohol purchases. Our team at PayBev™ looks in depth at the potential growth and not merely growth regarding the number of units but the overall growth of their beverage program and operations. While an operator may have 8-10 units in multiple states, they might be operating those units independently and aiming to consolidate and standardize their programming. As any beverage director that has been tasked with building, or rebuilding, a young program knows, there are many challenges that come with organizing and ensuring effectiveness of a standardized beverage program. Emerging Accounts have the mentality of doing more with less; so, we wanted to explore what tools these operators are using to overcome these challenges.

The operators that survived the pandemic storm and are now navigating the inflation landscape, knew or quickly realized that working smarter will prepare you for sustainable growth. Many National Accounts have a team dedicated to overseeing purchases to find volume deals and monitoring compliance of programmed brands. However, those in the Emerging sector are often wearing multiple hats and you might see that the Director of Ops is also the Beverage Director. Utilizing tools and services like Provi and Fintech have given these operators easier access to profitability and purchasing behaviors. With Provi, restaurant managers can designate approved products for purchase, compare quantity discounts and consolidate their orders to save time. On the other side of the ordering procedure, Fintech has streamlined the distributor payment but also provides reports to the manager on price variations and broken case charges. Together, these tools can be the foundation of a system that allows an operator to be proactive with their operating costs.

Unfortunately, the life of a product does not end with it’s purchase from the wholesaler. Products must be stocked, rotated, sold and what is not sold gets counted as standing inventory. And inventory equates to cash. During the pandemic, many restaurants became uncomfortably aware of how much inventory they had on hand. Thriving groups in the Emerging Accounts sector are quickly realizing the benefit of investing in inventory systems, like Partender. By having a standardized procedure and platform for taking inventory they can have a better grip on the operations of each unit, do inventory more accurately and frequently and thus increase the overall profits over their bar operations.

The next tool we see being adopted by more Emerging Accounts involves how these operators are presenting their offerings to and engaging with their customers. Although most consumers longed for the tactile interaction with a printed menu, digital components and online menus will be around to stay. More Emerging restaurants are now outsourcing their online presence and menus to services like Popmenu, where for a monthly fee they get a suite of tools that allow them to seamlessly update online (and printed) menus, manage search engine optimization, monitor online reviews and more. The Popmenu team even took it further by building in the incorporation of food and drink photography for those that like a visual before committing to an order.

For many years, access and adoption of essential technology and data has been predominantly seen among the large National Accounts due to the cost of entry barrier. However, as more service providers have democratized and expanded their offerings the Emerging Accounts are adapting, thriving, and entering a new playing field. We can only assume that more tools will emerge in this space in the coming years.

Cody is a 14-year hospitality industry veteran that has been Building Better Beverage Business™ with Emerging Accounts at PayBev™ since 2020. Prior to joining the PayBev™ team, Cody was managing beverage programs in nationally awarded restaurants and boutique hotels. As Account Support Manager, Cody leads a team that supports PayBev’s emerging chain clients in strategically structuring their beverage program to scale with their growth, drive topline sales and build strong partnerships. He found his passion for hospitality while studying marine science, which set him up to love a good spreadsheet, develop his methodical approaches to problems and get nerdy about cocktail technique. As an Atlanta native, Cody lives in the heart of the city with his partner Allison and two pets, Wednesday and Josephine. When not working on beverage-related projects, you’ll likely find him at a concert or local comedy show, playing croquet in the park or nestled up with a book.