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The future of coffee bars and social distancing at exhibitions

The future of coffee bars, lead capture and social distancing at exhibitions

Last year we launched a lead capture and survey platform called SmartServe. It enabled businesses to digitally capture the details of event attendees via their coffee order.

In the months that followed, clients told us how the service increased lead capture at their events. It enabled them to gather lists of opted-in contacts ready for their sales team to follow up and turn into new customers and orders.  

Then the events industry came to a standstill. The global pandemic rocked the world of conferences and exhibitions to its core and changed it forever. But, as many events have moved online, it’s become clear that there’s still a need for face-to-face events.

What’s next for B2B conferences and exhibitions?

An international survey of c.500 senior B2B marketeers titled “Post COVID-19 – The Future of B2B Events” has found online events are not seen as sufficiently effective, and there’s appetite for a return to physical events as soon as it’s possible. Marketeers are expecting to re-engage with events from October with new precautions actively welcomed.

With businesses keen to restart their events calendars with safety measures in place, it’s the role of events organisers and suppliers to find ways of safely operating and supporting social distancing at exhibitions and events.

Coffee bars and social distancing at exhibitions – is it possible?

The past few months have given us time to plan how we can take our mobile coffee bars to events in the wake of the pandemic. It struck us that the platform we created already provides a strong basis for social distancing at exhibitions and conferences.

Visitors order coffee remotely, with no contact between them and the barista. Screens are used, and the structure of the ordering process makes it easier to follow oneway systems on stand.

By stripping out the data capture element, we’ve created a brand new contactless coffee ordering system – SafeServe. It will come as standard with every mobile coffee bar. 


SafeServe – the future of social distancing at exhibitions

There’s no doubt that physical distancing has changed the way we interact and will continue to for the foreseeable. But it’s still possible to provide a warm welcome at events. It’s our firm belief that you don’t need to choose between a safe environment and being friendly and hospitable.

SafeServe makes it possible to provide your customers and prospects with a complementary coffee from a safe social distance. Where many competitors will avoid social interaction, you can encourage it responsibly, with visitors passing through your stand in an organised and manageable flow.

Here’s how the process works:

1. Order coffee – visitors follow the instructions and scan the QR code on their smart phone for a contactless process.

2. Make it custom – visitors customise their drink (milk, sugar etc.) using the simple interface and enter their name.

3. Collect the drink – once the drink is ready, the visitor’s name appears on screen and they collect it from the designated collection point.

Contactless and manageable

The switch to contactless ordering reduces cross-contamination and allows everyone to keep their distance. By creating a safe experience on stand, visitors feel more comfortable engaging with you, providing increased opportunities to interact and sell.  

The structure provided by the three-part ordering system is clear and easy to manage. Your team can focus on their event objectives, rather than shepherding visitors around the stand.

SafeServe is easy to integrate into your stand plan with very little adaptation from a typical coffee bar service. There’s no prior tech knowledge needed and it’s user-friendly.

Looking ahead to the coming months

We’re pleased to be able to provide SafeServe to every customer, enabling you to interact with customers and prospects again. It’s not to say the platform is the answer to social distancing at events, but rather it’s one part of the puzzle.

There’s plenty of work to be done to increase safety at face-to-face events, including reduced capacities, amended floorplans and protective equipment. What we hope is that SafeServe goes to show there are ways we can adapt as we find our feet in the new world of B2B events.

If you’d like to talk to us about SafeServe, or any events you have in the pipeline, you can get in touch by emailing hello@thebarista.co.uk or calling 0845 257 5900.

21 July 2020 - The Barista


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