In 2016, Micro Matic launched their Flexi-Draft product to an international market. Flexi-Draft is an innovative solution for venues that would usually be unable to provide a draft drinking experience for their customers. It is a self-contained, mobile unit that combines refrigeration technology with a simple to use, disposable line from the keg to the font.
To find out the end user experience of the Flexi-Draft technology, Micro Matic recently interviewed Scott Finlay, Bars and Events Manager at Sunderland’s Stadium of Light football stadium. Scott oversees 14 bars with various purposes from executive board room venues, to high throughput conventional football stadium bars. With such an array of locations and customer requirements, Scott is always looking for solutions to make his team of up to 200 staff more efficient.
In 2015 Scott introduced four Flexi-Draft units to his portfolio of bar equipment. He uses one in the award winning Sunderland FC Executive Board Room, one in a smaller 30 capacity function room and 2 flexibly so that they can be transported to various locations within the stadium or sent to outside catering events. The unit simply plugs into a mains electricity supply, with no requirements for cellars, long complicated beer lines or cleaning of the equipment. It is a truly flexible way to serve draft in many different locations that would previously only have had bottled beer as a feasible option.
When asked how Scott would describe his experience of Flexi-Draft, he had nothing but praise for the product. “We have a challenging stadium with issues such as concrete floors, no nearby cellars, thirsty customers and very busy staff. It is my role to make sure that the customer gets the perfect pint with as little waiting time as possible. Introducing Flexi-Draft has been a very positive step for our team as it genuinely provides the perfect pour. We have very demanding customers and they appreciate a quality beer that is the correct temperature. Flexi-Draft gives me the confidence that this can be achieved every time”.
Scott continues, “With the Flexi-Draft units, we have almost no beer wastage at all. I have calculated that it can cost £50 per bar to do a line clean due to the beer wastage alone. Other costs include the water, gas, labour and cleaning materials plus the inconvenience of the down time when my staff could be doing other more productive things. Overall, cleaning beer lines is the biggest money pit within my department. With Flexi-Draft, once a keg is empty, you simply dispose of the line, fit a new one and you are ready to go. A Flexi-Draft keg change takes seconds, whereas a line clean can take 45 minutes. I estimate a loss of only £1-2 retail value per keg of beer with Flexi-Draft therefore the cost savings we are making are significant. Up to £4,800 per year.
“At Sunderland we are focused on quality but we are also keen to do our bit for the environment so anything that can save on energy costs is of interest to us and Flexi-Draft meets these requirements as the keg only needs to be cooled in a smaller more efficient unit. We are also focused on maximising sales, of course, so when things are very busy, we simply wheel in one of the Flexi-Draft units and provide an extra point of purchase immediately.
“The outside catering side of our business has also really benefited from Flexi-Draft. It is great to see customers faces when they realise they can enjoy a cool draft pint in the middle of a field or at a wedding in a marque.
“If I was asked to name the key benefits to switching over to the Flexi-Draft unit I would say:
1. It gives a perfect pour that I can trust
2. Lower beer wastage therefore improved profitability
3. Less bills for cooling the beer and more efficiencies due to less downtime
4. Lower hassle for my staff
In summary, my ideal bar solution would be to no longer have a cellar and with Flexi-Draft that is finally a possibility.”
If you would like to know more about how Flexi-Draft could help you penetrate new markets with draft beer, please contact Michael Oates on 07771 613 721 or by email at MIO@micro-matic.co.uk You can also calculate how much you may save by visiting www.flexi-draft.com