Category Archives: ID Scan

The Biggest Opportunity You’re Missing

It’s a story that’s too often told, but it’s arguably the most important story there is. Because it often becomes the difference between life and death of a nightlife venue.

This past weekend, I was invited to a product launch party that was hosted at a third-party cider venue. The place was packed. I’m talking bursting at the seams packed. And they only had 2 bartenders working.

It took over 30 minutes to get our first round of drinks, so I just paid for everyone in my group to ease the burdens of the bartender needing to do multiple transactions. Then it took another 25 minutes to get our second round. At this point, we’ve spent nearly an hour of our time just waiting to get a drink, so we left to go drink somewhere else. We supported the launch like we wanted to, but staying here wasn’t worth our time anymore.

The largest e-commerce retailers spend millions of dollars a year to understand their customers. The nightlife industry has yet to change its mindset that it’s beneficial to have the same solutions that thriving e-commerce companies use, which is available to them at a monthly price that’s less than my one tab. Why are we so stuck in our old ways?

Aside from the issue of being grossly understaffed, there’s a bigger issue at hand for the venue: they have no data to improve. Think about it, the largest e-commerce retailers spend millions of dollars a year to understand their customers’ habits so well that they’re predicting what they’re going to buy next. Amazon alone spent nearly $19 billion in 2019 on their marketing efforts and they achieved 20% net revenue growth.

But we as a nightlife industry have yet to change our mindset that it’s beneficial to have solutions that e-commerce has to experience that level of growth. At the end of the night, this venue is going to look at their POS reports and use it as a guide for how they performed that day, and it’ll tell them a very inaccurate story. They have no idea how many people were inside their venue, which is a huge issue. Here’s why:

  • I paid for all of my friends’ drinks. Their POS has no idea that my friends even existed. It’ll show them the number of transactions that were made, but it won’t show them the number of people that were there.


  • If they knew how many guests were there, they’d know the average amount each guest spent, often known as average cost per transaction (CPT). My tab was $160 total on two rounds of drinks for my group of 10. Their POS is just going to show 1 transaction for $160. But in reality, the average CPT is $8. That’s a huge difference between a CPT of $160 and a CPT of $8. They’re going to operate their business believing every guest spends $160, when in reality, the average spend across all guests is $8.


  • While their labor to sales ratio may look favorable, they would have likely made thousands more dollars if they would have been staffed adequately. A couple extra bartenders would have reduced the wait time for people getting drinks, resulting in more drinks in people’s hands, resulting in more money. But because they don’t know how many people there were, they’re bound to make the same staffing decision for a future launch party looking at incomplete POS reports to guide their decision.

But why does this matter?

It matters because this is the type of information that needs to guide decisions to continue to grow and build their business. And because this was a launch party for a different company, I’d estimate 80% of the people that were there had never been to that venue before. And statistics say that 70% are unlikely to come back on their own. Now add in the terrible experience of waiting an hour to get drinks, and that percentage likely increases.

But what’s worse is because they weren’t tracking who came, they have no log of who was there to be able to reach these people again. Do you think Amazon grew to be an $87 billion company by not knowing who’s on their site and not understanding what drives their sales?

I’ve spent over a decade working alongside venue owners and I know firsthand that many are putting their life savings into their venue. I know they want it to succeed. They aren’t looking to throw all their money into a business that’s going to die in the average 18-month timespan. But I also know that most aren’t thinking about how to grow year after year. They tell me they’re “surviving.” They run without insight, hoping people walk through their doors when they open. They aren’t investing in systems that allow them to experience continuous growth.

The Missed Opportunity

Had this venue been using the Vemos ID scanner at the door, they would have had the exact number of people that attended their venue that day. They also would have the names, gender, age, and geographic location of all of those attendees in their dashboard. And had they connected their POS to their Vemos dashboard, they would have the exact CPT readily displayed to them. They’d know which guests made the transaction and what they purchased. They’d be able to define the type of customers that have the biggest impact on their bottom line, and have a strategy to go out and attract more of those types of customers. They’d know who was a new vs. returning guest, and would have been able to get some of those new guests back in the door.

This system is what allows a nightlife venue to operate within an e-commerce model at a monthly cost that’s less than my tab. It’s not hard. It’s not expensive. But it can make the difference between surviving and thriving.

How Community-Based ID Scanning Can Provide Safety

As a Minneapolis-based business in the nightlife industry, it’s hard to see a dominant player in the Minneapolis nightlife scene be struck with the terror of an active shooter inside their venue. It’s the third incident of a shooting inside a Minneapolis venue since we first started talking about this back in 2018. In the days since this incident, we’ve been spending our time thinking about those involved — the victims, the staff, the owners, the guests — which has refueled the fire inside of us to do our part to help keep nightlife venues across the country a fun, safe place for everyone to be.

It’s a mission that’s driven us from the beginning. We believe the best security is being able to stop an incident before it happens. That community-wide communication and collaboration makes an area stronger. That with more data comes more knowledge. And that knowledge is what drives not only one business, but an entire community forward.

Usually data is used for positive proactive reasons — to collect insight on what drives a business, to get a deeper understanding on valuable customer habits, and to bridge the gap between a venue and its consumer to drive loyalty and experience.

But data can also be used when the unexpected happens. When information from IDs is tracked, logged and timestamped, it’s able to act as the puzzle piece to help authorities track down the suspect of a crime. It empowers a venue to place a restriction on that person so they’re not allowed back inside. It alerts other venues in the community that the person was banned fo a specific reason should that person try to go into their establishment. It’s this type of network effect that helps band a community together for the greater good of public safety.

Data and ID Scanning, of course, is not the only answer; but it is a step toward being able to take an action in the wake of an incident. There’s still work that needs to be done to continue to build safe environments for all. We stand behind our industry peers in Minneapolis and across the nation. We believe in the longevity of the nightlife industry and will continue to push ourselves to build tools and systems that help our customers. And we’ll continue to pursue partnerships with the police and city officials to build a network of information that works to keep venues, staff, and their patrons safe.

How ID Scanning Increases Loyalty

Checking IDs is commonly considered a necessary evil of serving alcohol.

It’s not sexy. It’s not exciting. It’s just a step in the process. But this step can actually be turned into a huge asset to your bar or nightclub, especially with the right technology.

When you shift your thinking and equip yourself with the right tools, this very basic step becomes both your internal liability program as well as your external customer loyalty program.


The Legal Aspect

The liability and security side of checking IDs is always the most top-of-mind, particularly when it comes to verifying whether a guest is of age to drink. And from that aspect alone, having your staff manually review IDs is sufficient. But your liability decreases drastically when you equip that staff member with an ID scanning system. Here’s why:

  • It reduces the chances of honest human errors. Humans make mistakes even with the best intentions, such as incorrectly calculating someone’s age based on their date of birth. Having a quick license scan double verifies the guest’s age with a simple color coded alert of whether they’re over 21 or under 21. It makes it foolproof even under high stress situations.
  • It assists with easily passing stings. When authorities are checking to make sure you’re compliant, they legally cannot do so by using a fake ID or purposefully deceiving you. That means most stings are a result of incorrect math or laziness. Having a policy with an ID scan system corrects any mental mistakes and confirms all IDs are reviewed.
  • It aids in detecting fakes. Fake IDs are getting more complex, so having an ID scan system is just one more layer in the process of detecting a fake. Plus, in a worse-case scenario when you accidentally serve a minor, having a digital system is your paper trail to prove to authorities you didn’t purposefully serve that person and did the best of your ability to be compliant.
  • It digitally tracks your 86 list. Your seasoned staff may know immediately if a guest is banned and shouldn’t be let in, but your new employees likely won’t. Rather than memorizing a photo book of those who aren’t allowed, an ID scan system will automatically alert your employee if a guest is banned from the venue. Plus, if an incident occurs during the night, your staff can easily add that guest to your ban list so you always have the most up-to-date information to maintain a safe environment.
  • It alerts you of potentially unruly patrons. Some ID scan systems, like us at Vēmos, allows you to opt into a city-wide ban list. This means you’ll be alerted if a guest is banned at a nearby location along with the reason they were banned. You then use this information to make educated decisions on whether or not you want to let that guest into your venue.


  • Maintaining a secure environment minimizes costs associated with insurance, repairs, fines, and enforcement. What’s more is it provides an enjoyable atmosphere for your guests, which translates to a more profitable establishment. Which leads to the next aspect: loyalty.


    The Loyalty Aspect

    The not-so-obvious side of an ID scanning system is that it can become your loyalty program. And it can serve you better than most standalone loyalty programs can. Why? Because every guest needs to have their ID to drink. Not every guest is going to have your loyalty card or app. In fact, few consumers today want to have a separate loyalty card for every establishment they ever visit, so you’ll only capture a small percentage of your daily patrons.


    With an ID scanning system, you’re able to collect data on all of your guests. This goes well beyond their name, age and other demographic information. We’re talking behavioral data — how often that guests comes, what time of day they check in, how many visits they’ve had this month, what types of events or promotions drive them there, the list goes on. And when you connect your ID scanning system to your point of sale system, you unlock a whole new layer of behavioral information. Not to mention you get a ton of invaluable insights on what factors drives your business and which triggers to pull to repeat that business.


    It’s with this information that you’re able to reward your guests for doing what they’re already doing — simply showing up — and begin to offer them personalized service based on their habits. Notice it’s their 5th time coming in this month? Comp their first drink. Haven’t seen them in a while? Reach out to them about a special you think they’d enjoy. It’s these types of actions that build connections between consumers and brands, and drive true loyalty to your establishment.



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    Complying with FDA Tobacco 21

    On December 20, 2019, the President signed legislation to amend the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, and raise the federal minimum age of tobacco from 18 to 21 years. The FDA was quick to enforce the regulation, prompts posting on its website that it is now illegal for a retailer to sell any tobacco product to anyone under 21 effective immediately.

    What this means if you’re in the position of selling tobacco products:

      1. It is now illegal for a retailer to sell any tobacco product to anyone under 21. This includes cigarettes, smokeless tobacco, hookah tobacco, pipe tobacco, and e-cigarettes and other electronic nicotine delivery systems (including vaping products).
      2. T21 applies to all retail establishments and persons with no exceptions.
      3. It is recommended to check the photo ID of everyone under the age of 30 who attempts to purchase any tobacco product

    While the FDA recently updated its website stating that “…both the agency and some retailers will need to update current practices to implement this new law as FDA will need time to do outreach and education to retailers and update the agency’s programmatic work to reflect this change in law,” it is not clear how long of a transition period will be allowed. The FDA expects retailers to follow the law and take measures to ensure an individual purchasing a tobacco product is 21 or older.

    We at Vēmos believe that every retailer should be in the clear and doesn’t need to spend their time worrying about whether or not they are complying within this grace period. That’s why we’re offering our mobile ID Scan app at just $35/month. It’s the fastest and easiest way to make sure you’re always following regulations so you don’t get caught in a compliance check.

    Here’s how it works:

      2. Scan the barcode on the back of the ID, and be immediately alerted if someone is underage. You’ll have visual cues along with audible beeps as indicators. You’ll also be alerted if the ID is expired or invalid.
      3. Scan the next guest’s ID.

    It’s that easy. You’ll be set up within minutes, will verify a customer’s age within seconds, and have a log of all your scans should you ever need to prove your compliance. Get started now.

    How one bartender increased tips by 186% after a failed sting

    No bartender wants to serve a minor, but mistakes happen. And that’s what happened to Sarah Upton, a bartender at Texarkana 67 Speedway. An innocent math error caused her to fail a sting and get slapped with a $500 fine. It was a simple human mistake we’ve all experienced at one time or another, and it was one she knew she never wanted to make again.

    That’s when she turned to Vēmos.


    “Before I found Vēmos, I was a constant nervous wreck,” Sarah informed us. “My lines would get backed up all the way down the field. It took me forever to pinprick every ID. I felt like I needed to get people through, but was so nervous that I was going to miss something on the ID. Which I did, and got busted for it.”


    After getting slapped with a fine, Sarah started researching a solution that would make sure she didn’t get caught in this situation again. What originally started as a search for a simple age verification system turned into a bigger opportunity than she could have imagined. Several ID Scan companies appeared in her search results, but Vēmos was the one that stuck out the most. “The V was like Victory – there it is! That’s it! It had everything I was looking for and more.”

    Sarah downloaded the app, and went right to work. “There were no obstacles to get started. I popped open the app, started scanning, and it never failed me. It’s very precise. It beeps if there’s an under age guest. It beeps if there’s someone with an expired license. You don’t have to take the time to nit pick a license. You just stick it under the camera and boom! It’s done. My night was so much smoother as a result.”

    But how much smoother? That was the question we knew we needed to get more insight on, so we dug in further to get an example.

    “I used it that first Friday night, and I was so relaxed,” Sarah continued. “The app is so quick. I didn’t get behind in checking IDs. By the time intermission came around, I already had everyone’s ID checked, I’d stamp their hand if they’ve already been checked once, and it just worked out perfect! I didn’t have a great big line like I usually did. This process was so much quicker to get them served, get them out of the way, and get them back to their entertainment. When they’re standing in my line, they’re not getting the entertainment they came to see.”

    Experience is something we talk a lot about here at Vēmos, so we wanted to understand how having a smoother process impacted guest experience. We inquired if not standing in a slow line changed how her customers interacted with her.

    “Yes it did!” Sarah immediately replied. “Everyone was so friendly and complimented how smooth the line was and how quick and precise the app was. I spent more time interacting with the guests because I wasn’t so stressed about picking apart the ID. I even caught numerous expired licenses because of the app, and was able to tell the guest. They didn’t even know it was expired and thanked me — they thanked me even though I didn’t serve them because their ID was expired! Oh, and by the way, I made the best tips I ever made out there!”

    Now that’s something worth diving into. After discussing her average tips prior to this night, then compared to what she received, we discovered she more than doubled. In fact, it was an increase of 186%. Was it because there were more people? Was it a busier night than usual? Turns out, no. It was a similar attendance to previous nights, many of whom were repeat guests. So why the sudden and drastic increase?

    “I think it’s because they knew I was being very friendly. They weren’t spending their night standing in my line. It was so much quicker. I was able to talk to everyone. Nobody was mad that I had to scan their ID. I just explained to them that it’s a process we started and that if they come out here they have to have their ID scanned. And they would respond saying that I’m just doing my job and covering my bases. Everyone was really friendly with it.”

    Those are the intangibles that come along with equipping yourself with the tools that allow you to do your job better. For Sarah, what started as a failed sting ended up with faster operations, happier guests, and increased tips. And of course eliminating her risk of getting busted again.

    “I will never work without this app again. I will quit my job if I don’t have this app. There’s no reason why you should get a citation. If this app is used right, there’s no way you can get in trouble. No way. If you scan every ID that comes through —I don’t care if they look like they’re 100 years old —you can’t get caught. It’s too precise.”

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