Germany’s Sausalitos wins big in the digital space

The cocktail bar not only engages with patrons on social media but has also launched a blockchain-powered loyalty app recently
12 July 2018

A glimpse of youngsters being engaged at Sausalitos. Source: Facebook / Sausalitos

When you’re running a bar aimed at the ‘Netflix and chill’ generation, you’re bound to have a few hiccups keeping your businesses in the green.

Today’s digital-first youngsters socialize more on the internet than in the real world. However, Christoph Heidt, CEO of Germany’s cocktail bar Sausalitos, sees that as an opportunity rather than a challenge.

In an exclusive interview with TechHQ, he talks about how he fine-tuned the experience he offers at his bar and restaurant chain serving 40 locations and 5 million customers, to suit digital natives.

“Sausalitos is for the youngsters, so our strategies and marketing are digital-first,” says Heidt, who aims to build his cocktail bar into a meeting space for patrons.

Getting the foundation right

Going digital means different things to different people. For Sausalitos, after much deliberation, going digital meant targeting customers where they were – on Facebook.

The company spends considerable time and energy on its social media page, coming up with offers and creating campaigns that encourage interaction and invite customers to visit them.

“It’s a digital world. All of our customers are on Facebook, so we’re on Facebook, and we’ve built a strong community on the platform,” said Heidt.

The bar’s Facebook page has 82,000 likes and runs several campaigns to encourage people to visit with friends, drive engagement, and bring in some ‘fun’.

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Check into the restaurant on social media to extend happy hours by an hour. Watch the World Cup at the bar with friends, get freebies. The team is always working on new ways to keep customers engaged and excited.

But you can’t do everything on social media

In order to take the digital experience to the next level, the company decided to build a loyalty app that offered tokens to customers for every purchase they made.

However, Heidt knew that simply building a loyalty program wouldn’t be enough. He had to find something to make the app ‘sticky’ and to get users to come back to the app, as often as possible, if he wanted a return on his investment in the app.

So the company partnered with qiibee, and built its loyalty program on the blockchain.

That way, the tokens they give to customers have value in the real world, and people keep coming back to check how much their tokens are worth every day.

Users, Sausalitos expects, will wonder if they have enough for a free cocktail every time they’re out with friends.

But users also need to be engaged

The company is using technology to transform how they engage with customers, and it’s constantly transforming what it offers.

“We truly want to be part of our customer’s lives, wherever they are,” said Heidt, who is now offering customers the opportunity to order drinks to wherever they meet with their friends.

“The car, the park, at home, wherever our customers are meeting their friends and want to enjoy a drink, we’ll be happy to serve,” explained Heidt.

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The fact is, for restaurants, digital isn’t a formula or a buzzword. It’s a strategy, and strategies need to keep evolving based on changing dynamics.

From the sound of it, Sausalitos understands its target audience and is customizing the experience it offers to wow them, no matter what they want. And going by the engagement on their latest Facebook post, they’re on the right track.