We're excited to announce a brand new product: Beer Recommendations!
Starting January 25, your BeerMenus menu on mobile web, iPhone, and Android will lead off with an all new "Recommendations" section for all users!
We're still working out some kinks (hence the "BETA" tag), so please let us know if something looks off.
We'll get into the algorithm-y weeds below (grab some popcorn!) but here's the bare bones story: beers land in the "Recommendations" section based on how well they score in 5 categories:
• Is the beer local?
• Is the beer rare?
• Is the beer sought-after?
• Is the beer new to the menu?
• Is it rated well?
As you can see, we also provide an option for your more educated customers: Recommendations by Beer Style. For example, if someone knows they want a hoppy beer but they don't know where to start because you have a ton of IPAs, they can navigate to "Recommended Hoppy Beers."
Like I said, we'll get into specifics below, but before we get any further let's address the most important question:
What does this mean for my business? How do I benefit?
There are two principal ways Recommendations benefit your business.
1. Recommendations make it easier for customers to decide what to order/buy.
Nothing slows down the bar or register like a customer who has trouble deciding what they want. Maybe they're new to craft beer, maybe they're flustered, maybe it's something else.
Regardless, the more time someone spends deciding, the less time they spend buying.
Recommendations will help customers order—simply direct people to your menu on the BeerMenus app or on BeerMenus.com and they'll see Recommendations. The work is done!
(Want an easy way to direct people to your page on BeerMenus? Request free stickers, table tents, and other POS here!)
2. More than ever before, more customers will find you on BeerMenus!
Here's an example of the old home screen on our iPhone and Android apps. As you can see, we've highlighted the Top Places list.
Until today, this list was only based on the number of followers a business has.
Our slogan is "Find Great Beer," so we knew we could do better than this.
Of course, number of followers is an indicator that a place has great beer (why else would they have so many followers?), but it's still lacking: it doesn't tell customers which place has the best beer right now.
It was high time this changed, and recommendations enabled that change. Starting January 16, this list will be populated by the places with the top beers right now.
Here's how this section—now called Where to Go Right Now—looks now that Recommendations figure in:
Questions or concerns? Click the small blue square in the bottom right-hand corner of your screen. That'll launch a chat with us!
How are beers Recommended? What data do you use?
First, let's be clear about what Recommendations aren't: they're not flat star ratings or 100-scale ratings. While helpful, ratings don't tell the whole story.
We do include consumer ratings in the data, but we also add in data from the 35,000+ places who list their beers on BeerMenus and the activity of millions of beer lovers who use BeerMenus to find beer. Importantly, geographical nuance figures in as well.
This means that a Bell's Two Hearted isn't just a plain and simple "92" or "4 stars." It gets a different score at a place in Columbus, OH than at a place in New York City than one in Minneapolis than...you get the picture.
As far as nuts and bolts go, to score and rank beers we use an index called the Beer Score.
Beer Score Makeup
To calculate the Beer Score, we use internal data to answer 5 questions about all the beers on every place's menu:
- How sought-after is the beer? BeerMenus is how beer lovers find the beers they love. Their behavior makes it abundantly clear how sought-after a beer is.
- How well is the beer rated? Beer lovers use BeerMenus to rate beer. For this we look at ratings of beers and breweries.
- How rare is the beer? This is where geography figures in—the fewer nearby menus on which a beer is listed, the more rare it is.
- Is the beer local? We believe that local beer is the best beer. If a beer is made near a business that's selling it, that beer scores higher than non-local beer.
- How recently was the beer added to that menu? The more recent, the better. We prioritize recently added beers for two reasons: first, freshness is key to most beer styles; second, if a beer's been hanging around for a long time, there's probably a reason for it.
Summing and Ranking
Once we've answered all five of these questions for each beer on every menu, we calculate a score for each beer. On each menu, the highest-scoring beers appear in Recommendations.
As you can see, we also indicate the principal reasons why each of the recommended beers made the cut. We include this because we want to know why a beer was recommended, too!
This is completely dynamic!
Because the Recommendation "engine" is always running, it's possible for your recommended beers to change minute-to-minute, hour-to-hour, or day-to-day!
This happens if:
- You update your menu (e.g. you add a "better" beer to your list)
- Other places update their menu (e.g. they sell out of an awesome beer before you, making your serving "rare")
- Customers fall in love with a beer (e.g. it becomes more sought after or highly rated)
We'd love to hear any feedback, questions, or concerns you have about Recommendations. Feel free to shoot an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or click the big blue button in the bottom right of your screen to start a chat. Cheers!