We’ve got smartphones and smart cars, self-service at banks, gas stations, and ice cream shops— and now at a brand new SouthEnd bar. Hoppin’, opening December 2nd, combines that tech and convenience with beer and wine.
If anything, the “smart bar” knows exactly WHAT you’re drinking, how much you’re drinking, how much you’re paying (no cheating here!), and when you need to take a break. A wristband, some iPads, and even your phone are keeping track of every ounce, including — like any good Big Brother — when you should stop.
“It intrigued me – Charlotte doesn’t have anything like this,” said owner, entrepreneur, and self-made millionaire Rich Moyer. Moyer also owns 2 Scoops Creamery in Plaza Midwood and Lake Norman, but made his money in construction by doing “jobs nobody wanted to do” and working up from there.
He sat down with Scott Dunstan and Brian Young on the Dunstan Group’s Brandbuilders Podcast to share how he became so successful at such a young age, and what led him to open a self-serve bar when his initial reaction to the idea was, “NO WAY.”
You can listen to his entire conversation here, and be as inspired as the rest of us: http://soundcloud.com/dunstangroup/brandbuilders-rich-moyer-hoppin-charlotte
Moyer said he’s approached often by businesses wanting an investor and the answer is usually no.
So when a friend called from Greenville, SC, late one night after visiting a self-serve bar there, the answer was still… no.
The friend went one step further: As soon as they hung up, he sent a video of the self-pour technology at work. Moyer wanted to learn more. The friend made a proposal, they took a presentation from the company that makes the technology — called iPour — and Moyer was in.
“What really intrigued me… was the technology piece, and bringing something new to Charlotte,” said Moyer.
He says the sophisticated software keeps track of everything. When you check in at the door, staff checks your ID and swipes your credit card to open a tab.
“That tab will be linked to a wristband, and that wristband is then usable for any tap in the building,” Moyer explained.
That’s “any” of 62 taps — 50 beer taps and 12 with wine, champagne, or other so-called “bottle” drinks, spread out over 4,600 square feet on two floors. Moyer says the beers will range from basic, to craft, to very expensive — meaning $25-30 a glass, but “people can buy a tenth of an ounce if they want to.”
All it takes is a “tap” on the tap. Each tap has an iPad above it, and patrons just have to hold their wristband up to the Hoppin’ logo on the iPad to activate the tap. Then they pour.
After 32 ounces, patrons have to re-activate the wristband. North Carolina law requires that bars can only sell 32 ounces of beer or wine at a time. This also allows staff to check if a patron has had too much to drink.
“It allows us to keep some kind of control, making sure someone is not just chugging beer and getting hammered,” said Moyer.
An app available on Android phones also keeps track of which beers you drink, and allows patrons to rate them. If favorites aren’t available on the next visit, the app recommends something similar. Fantastic.
Moyer isn’t waiting to see if Hoppin’ is successful before he expands. He likes the idea so much he has already picked out a second location in NoDa that he says will be ready in another two years.
Though Moyer insists he’ll take a vacation soon, he loves bringing new concepts to Charlotte. He wants to find things he’s passionate about and work hard at them to make them successful.
His advice for young entrepreneurs? “Take that leap, don’t be afraid to go get it.” You’ll be able to work hard — for yourself.
But first, serve yourself — at Hoppin’. You’ll find it at 1402 Winnifred Street in SouthEnd, and on Instagram at @hoppinclt.