BevSpot’s Rory Crawford: Fine Tuning the Food & Beverage Business
By Phil Butler, Partner Pamil Visions PR
Founded back in 2014, BevSpot is a promising Boston-based startup company that is delivering on a promise to make life easier for bars. Now, moving on to the next logical progression, the company has expanded its domain by launching BevSpot Food, an expanded service suited to restaurants, distributors, and suppliers. Complex at its core, BevSpot is simple in practice, allowing owners and staff to take control of critical elements of their business from any device. The potential for this kind of innovation is mirrored in the funding key investors have made in the new company. To date, BevSpot has garnered more than $17 million in successive rounds of funding. The merits of the startup have been lauded by TechCrunch and many others. For this report, I had the unique opportunity to connect with co-founder Rory Crawford. Here is the gist of our interview in which we discussed BevSpot.
Rory Crawford: We have always been very focused on making sure our product development process involves our customer as much as possible. When we began to develop our Food software, we visited our customers' kitchens, freezers, offices to observe their processes and better understand their challenges. We took that learning and built the product in a way that would be applicable to any food business anywhere in the world.
We iterate on a weekly, and sometimes daily, basis to build product very quickly with real-time customer feedback. This collaborative and iterative process, combined with amazing customer support, enabled us to develop a truly innovative and highly valuable product in a fraction the time of traditional development cycles.
Phil Butler: The BevSpot Food Program Management Software is technology to track everything from inventory to spoilage and even customer preferences. Just how "smart" is the software for predicting customer preferences? Do you think there's a "big data"analytics future for your product in the future?
Rory Crawford: I often think the word "data" and "big data" can sound intimidating to a person trying to run a business. What has always excited me most about this industry is that "small data" has the potential to be amazingly beneficial. It can be the difference between a business' success and failure.
BevSpot is "smartest" in the way in which it converts complicated information into extremely simple and actionable insights. For instance, it will tell a customer what their top-selling and least profitable drinks are. This is extremely simple data but is difficult for operators to access this data on a regular basis without our product. BevSpot will even make recommendations on how the user can improve those few items to drive significant profits.
The magic of BevSpot is delivering this extremely simple and impactful data to the user in a manner that they can use to improve their business immediately. Over time, we will make increasingly exciting analytics applications on our industry data, but our approach will be the same—convert complicated information represented by large datasets into extremely simple, actionable, and impactful insights that can improve businesses.
Phil Butler: It's obvious the Bevspot software will help restaurateurs get an angle on efficiency but do you have any case studies or figures on "how much" clients can improve their bottom line?
Rory Crawford: One of the best things about our product is that it tracks this data for the customer so that everybody in the business can see the improvements. Across our entire customer base, we have seen an average of 4% improvement in program profitability and a 25-50% improvement in cash efficiency through inventory reduction. These are extremely impactful results for restaurants.
Phil Butler: Can this software be utilized for operations outside the food and beverage area?
Rory Crawford: Food and beverage operations are our core focus. Any processes associated with these processes, such as vendor relations or accounting processes, can benefit from BevSpot as well. But we are deeply focused on improving the core food & beverage operations of our customers.
Phil Butler: What is the next step for BevSpot?
Rory Crawford: More effort, innovation, and value for our customers. We always say we are 99.9% away from where we want to be as a product and company. We will continue to work closely with our customers to understand their challenges and use our tech-first approach to help them improve their businesses.
BevSpot now has hundreds of customers taking advantage of the efficiencies Crawford's company delivers. From a technology and startup standpoint, making technologies that streamline inventory efficiency satisfies the "Holy Grail" for success. That is, BevSpot solves a significant point of pain for food and beverage businesses. What's most fascinating for me is the fact Crawford's company seems to have become the thought leader inventory management for these niches of the hospitality industry. It will be interesting to see BevSpot in markets outside the U.S.
Co-Founder & CEO - BevSpot