Dog Haus, a Southern California–based hot dog concept, is in the final stages of implementing self-service beer stations in two locations. The self-serve iPourIt system allows customers to pay for a pre-loaded card and make their selections on an iPad attached to beer stations in the store.
Dog Haus cofounder Quasim Riaz says this allows the restaurant to provide more diverse beer offerings, despite its small footprint.
“Kitchen equipment comes first—you can’t throw out the stove—so sometimes we’ve had to have smaller, four-tap systems,” he says. “Now we’re able to take the beer and put it in the outside dining room, much like people have been doing for years with sodas.”
With this system, customers can taste-test their selections; they pay for every tenth of an ounce, eliminating profit loss from pouring errors.
“Typically, as an operator, when you get a keg, up to 20 percent of it goes to waste,” Riaz says. “Now, not only are you giving the consumer the choice and allowing them to make sure they’re drinking what they want, but you’re also now having them pay for more, and they’re happy to do it because they’re guaranteed the beer they like.”
The novelty of the system also plays to customers who want to learn more about the beers they are drinking. The interactive iPad display contains information on alcohol by volume, taste profiles, and even menu pairing options. Riaz says this allows customers to have the most engaging drinking experience while fulfilling Dog Haus’s goals of providing the best quality in both food and beverage.
“At Dog Haus, we say that we take our food really seriously, and we take our beer really seriously as well. The beer that we put on our approved list are all craft beers that we actually know and like,” he says.
While the idea of self-serve alcohol initially raised some eyebrows within Dog Haus management, Riaz says, security with the iPourIt system is no different than monitoring consumption in a traditional serving environment.
“We thought, ‘So you can just pour as much as you want to?’ I imagined what 10-year-old me would have done with that. Then we realized that’s not at all how the system works,” he says. “We’re not going to let someone walk up and just order $100 of beer.”
Riaz says the most enticing aspect of the iPourIt system is the ability to give customers a new experience. This emphasis on new flavors and creativity runs throughout the food menu, too, with offerings like the new Spicy Thai Red Currywurst, and Riaz says he is glad to be able to provide that level of uniqueness within the store’s beer offerings as well.
“People love experiencing new beers; they want to be able to go away and tell their friends about this new beer they had,” he says. “The beer has to mirror the food. It has to be just as interesting and be just as high quality.”
The first iPourIt station will be added to the brand’s Santa Anna, California, location within the next three months, with plans to add the equipment to a location in Fullerton, California, soon after.
By Emily Byrd