Bored of going to a pub and just sitting for hours with a drink? Tired of reminiscing with your friends and missing the old times? Annoyed at having to choose between great food and exciting games?
Fairgame and Tevalis have the solution.
Now with the latest tech, all those fairground games you couldn’t get enough of, plus cocktails and epic street food…
The world of hospitality is ever-changing and with current market conditions, people are looking for new cost-effective yet exciting ways to socialise. This has led to the rise of competitive socialising, or social gaming; venues that combine food, drinks, and games to offer unforgettable experiences.
Tevalis has been working with customers in this emerging vertical for many years. Brands such as Puttshack, Hijingo, and Oche, operate with our technology solutions: we provide a seamlessly integrated system so they’re on top of their game. Now, a new and dynamic company has joined our client community: Fairgame.
We spoke to Toby Cowan, COO of Fairgame, to gain insight into how his teams are innovating the competitive socialising industry and how Tevalis has become a key part of their brand.
First and foremost we were looking for a robust system that was going to be able to deal with a high volume of business, along with a solid stock system. A system that wasn’t new to the market or untested in this kind of environment. We needed technology that was used to dealing with venues like ours and catering to their needs.
It was important that we could rely on the system being fit for purpose. There are a lot of new players in the market and their systems are not rigorously tested in high-volume environments. You don’t have confidence that these systems can deal with the nuances of a business like ours. So it had to be a system that could do all those things and work in partnership with us.
We have third-party street food vendors in our business. So we wanted a supplier that could demonstrate that they had worked with similar styles of operation in the past and could provide us with the visibility and management controls that we needed.
The fact that Tevalis worked with food halls in the past, and brands such as Puttshack and BOXPARK, coupled with the flexibility, reporting, and visibility around those third-party kitchens, was a huge factor for us.
Not many systems can do that and do it well. Tevalis is the only one that stood out for us as being the go-to system for our style of operation.
That was one of the main factors, but first and foremost, the system needed to be robust. It needed to have a comprehensive stock module. It needed to be something that we could rely on.
Secondly, it needed to be something that could cater to the operations of the third-party kitchens: you want them to only see certain things, while we want the ability to see the overarching business.
Thirdly, we were looking for a supplier willing to work with us to do something a little bit different.
Tevalis has that perfect balance of being able to provide a really strong, reliable, robust system but at the same time not being too big or too cumbersome as an organisation. It’s innovative and agile, which is what we needed.
We’ve got multiple integrations across our business due to the nature of the operation: we have games, street food kitchens, and an order-at-table app which has been designed bespoke for us.
We were looking for several integrations, including different partners we needed to integrate with sales, which was critical to setting up this business style.
We needed Tevalis to integrate with a booking system which they had never worked with and never integrated with before. It was imperative to integrate with them: it looks after the bookings and the credit management side of things.
We also wanted to lean heavily on existing integrations that Tevalis had with people like Rotaready. One of the attractions to us in the first instance was the fact that Tevalis already had a large number of leading strategic partners, but was also open to integrating with new partners as well.
Their willingness to be able to complete these integrations was critical as our business is unique.
Everyone has been great: the experience has been very positive with great communication across all the teams within Tevalis: it felt like everyone operated across departments as one.
If we’re talking to one person, and then we talked to another person in Tevalis a week later, they all know the situation. It’s always given me confidence that you are working well together, which helps us.
From the original conversations we were having with your hospitality consultants to then talking to the operations team about the integrations and the setup, and then handing over to our account managers more recently, we’ve always felt like we were being well looked after. There’s always someone there who’s wanting to answer questions and check that things are on track and progressing.
It’s a very customisable system so we can set it up in a way that works for us. It’s very intuitive for the team and they have no complaints at all. The system itself is easy to manage, easy to maintain, and easy to use.
The hardware is sleek. It’s as good as I’ve seen anywhere else, it doesn’t take up a lot of space, and it looks nice and streamlined.
The reporting side of things is easy to use. There’s a large number of reports that are available and they can all be exported and manipulated. Whatever data we currently need to find, we can find quickly and easily and that allows us to make business decisions in a fast, efficient way, which is exactly what a business like ours needs.
It definitely saves us time: if I need to find the average GPs of all our cocktails based on our actual sales mix it would take me 30 seconds to find that out. I can then make a decision to adjust pricing if needed.
From that perspective, it delivers everything we need.
I think competitive socialising, or activity bars, are a huge growth area in the hospitality industry. More and more now, particularly post-COVID, people want to have an experience. They don’t just want to go to the pub and have drinks and food.
They want to have an experience that they can participate in with their friends and do something different and special and memorable.
I think businesses like ours are going to continue to grow and expand fast because I think this is the new normal. It’s pub 2.0.
We want to be at the forefront of that and we’re trying to create something that gives people a unique experience that they can play with their friends or colleagues. It’s fun, nostalgic, exciting, and shareable. So, it’s very social media friendly, Instagram friendly.
It’s an adult playground, we have adults of all ages coming in – dates, mates, socials – and they’re having the time of their life. Everyone’s got a massive smile on their face. It’s also really inclusive as well because you don’t actually have to be any good at the game. It’s not like darts or golf, which if I had one criticism of those two games, sometimes you like them or you don’t. You’re good at them or you’re not. Whereas here we’ve got nine very different games: how can you be good at putting balls in a bin? It’s something that everyone and anyone can have fun doing!
In terms of our growth plan, we’re looking to open a second venue in London very quickly, and we have already engaged with agents in the US with the plan to open our first site in the US within the next two years. So that’s definitely on the horizon for us.
The next 12 months are going to be particularly tough for the hospitality industry with the cost of living crisis, and we’re very conscious that people are going to go out less. But when they do go out, they’re going to want to go somewhere special. And that’s where we can come into play. We want to give people an amazing, unique, memorable experience – so we’re laser-focused on making sure we always deliver on that.
There’s a lot of uncertainty in the world right now, and a lot of doom and gloom. We want Fairgame to be a place where people can switch off from all of that; somewhere filled with fun and joy.
I see Tevalis as a real partner and it’s been very clear that they are focused on trying to help solve our problems. We’re trying to lay the foundations for us to be able to scale this business, and that’s very much with Tevalis alongside us, as a long-term partner.