Reserve Bar Stock Exchange is a bar and nightclub that weaves mobile technology across a multi-floor venue through its proprietary app to create a unique experience within The City. Reserve Bar Stock Exchange is the creation of Alan Grant, former owner, operator and creative director of London venues Notting Hill Arts Club, Cherry Jam, Neighbourhood Club, Supperclub and Apartment 58 Members Club. Alan’s entertainment brands have delivered £99.4 million in turnover over 20 years. We are talking to Alan about his new concept and why he is raising funds with CrowdBnk.
Disclaimer: Please note that the answers that Alan Grant gives in the interview are his own opinions and have not been prepared by CrowdBnk.
CrowdBnk: Hi Alan. Please can you describe your business to us?
Alan: It's London's first bar with a real time stock market for drinks, in essence we operate on the basis of supply and demand so prices fluctuate; the more popular the drink the more you pay and vice versa. We are based in the heart of the City near the Bank of England
CrowdBnk: What problem are you trying to solve and what is the inspiration behind your business?
Alan: I think our sector of bars, clubs and restaurants has been slow to respond to the digital and tech revolution in terms of finding an easy way for customers to engage and have fun when in a bar or club simply using their phones. I think the exciting part of solving this problem is that it will deliver a very scalable tech business (bar games you play on your phone) along with a more traditional bricks and mortar model. The inspiration or at least my starting point was the 'tooth brush theory' to create something people want to use twice a day that improves their lives or makes it more fun in this case. The idea of being able to order a drink, choose what you want to pay for it, and even send a drink to anyone you want to meet in the bar without leaving your seat is an exciting idea that technology can now facilitate.
CrowdBnk: You must be excited to have recently started your funding campaign. Why did you choose crowdfunding as a means of raising capital? Why CrowdBnk in particular?
Alan: It's a first for me but I simply like the idea of spreading the investment and share holding across a potentially large group of people who hopefully would also be customers and great ambassadors for the brand. I chose CrowdBnk because they have a great track record and team and are fully committed to the projects they take on. There is nothing quite as persuasive as having skin in the game.
CrowdBnk: What has been the feedback from your customers?
Alan: Extremely positive, it has been very encouraging. You are never quite sure how people will react to your idea but so far it has been a great fit for the City and seen as a fun addition to the limited late night corporate bars and clubs on offer. We have even been featured on the BBC which is a first in 25 years.
CrowdBnk: Tell us about the Reserve Bar App?
Alan: The app is really about gamification, bar games you play on your mobile. We have just completed the first phase of development and the next three innovations we plan to implement will be mobile-commerce to allow you to pay for drinks without leaving your seat, what I call ‘Tinder for drinks', allowing you to send anyone in the bar a drink or chat with them directly via the app. We will also develop 'E-bay for drinks' which will be a live bidding option for a number of our sharing cocktails, bottles and rare drinks. We are excited and committed to developing the app further and have lots of bar game ideas in development. We have also partnered with the University of York to analyse Reserve Bar Stock Exchange data. This data mining research project takes place as part of a governmental initiative NEMOG to promote digital games as solutions to society. This will give us some very valuable data and research intel when it comes to future game development on the app. The plan is to white label the app and games to pubs, bars and clubs.
CrowdBnk: What’s next for the company? How do you plan to expand in the future?
Alan: We have plans for a second site in Canary Wharf next year and I would like to see a Reserve Bar Stock Exchange night being played via mobiles every day somewhere in the UK and our 'Bar games' app becoming as common as Tinder or Uber when planning or being on a night out.
CrowdBnk: Finally, please finish this sentence Reserve Bar: investment opportunity because…
Alan: It's at the start and we are thinking big. We have a solid tested global model and team, our sister company in India have now opened three units in 24 months each consistently generating $200,000 per month of turnover. With our app and a unique tech innovation - 'bar games ' - we have the potential to develop a great bricks and mortar business alongside a tech licencing business that will be the first, and we hope a market leade, in this growing, very scalable and profitable area of mobile gamification.