What does the new £20 note mean for the gaming machine industry?

The polymer £20 note is now officially in circulation, which means any of your future punters could walk in with one in their pocket – so are your gaming machines ready to accept them?

It’s been a challenging few years for the gaming machine industry and for manufacturers of coin-operated machines in general, such as parking meters and vending machines too.

We’ve had polymer £5 and £10 notes, the new 12-sided £1 coin and now the new polymer £20 note, all of which could be incompatible with older coin-operated machines.

Hopefully all long-term customers of Manco have now had their fruit machines, pool tables and jukeboxes updated for full compatibility.

But if you have older fruit machines from other suppliers or mechanically operated ‘push to vend’ pub pool tables, you might still be in a pickle.

Here we’ll look again at some of the options to make sure your gaming machines are compatible with the new polymer £20 note, as well as the plastic £5 and £10, and the new £1 coin.

New coin/note slots

The hardware fix is to install a new coin slot or note feeder, which is designed to work with the new shape of the £1 coin and the materials used in polymer banknotes.

In many cases this can be done quite easily, but there’s always a surge in demand immediately after a new coin or note launches, so contact Manco as soon as possible if you’re having problems accepting the new £20 polymer note.

Updated software

Software updates can restore compatibility in modern coin slots and note readers, which are designed to be updated in this way when necessary.

Even if you had a new note reader installed into your gaming machines when the polymer £5 and £10 notes were released, you might need a quick update to be able to accept the plastic £20 note, so make sure you check this or call out an engineer to be certain.

New gaming machines

Unfortunately, some old gaming machines just can’t be economically updated – either with a new hardware note reader or via a software update – to accept the new £20 note.

It can be a wrench letting go of an old favourite fruit machine, especially if it’s been a nice little earner for your establishment, but generally speaking you’re likely to make more with a modern fruit machine or quiz machine that can take £20 notes.

 

Whether you’re looking to replace old gaming machines or you’d like to add a new fruit machine, quiz machine, pool table or jukebox to your premises with complete compatibility, contact Manco Automatics today by calling 0161 870 7777 or emailing us info@mancoautomatics.com and we can let you know your options.

The increase of pubs opening in the UK

British pub numbers have been in decline for a period of years, if not decades, with BBPA statistics showing the number of pubs in the UK down from 60,800 in 2000 to 48,350 in 2017.

During that period there wasn’t a single year when the number of pubs in the UK went up – but the times, they are a-changing.

The latest ONS figures under the heading ‘Economies of Ale’ show the sector finally found some forward momentum in 2018-19 for the first time in at least a decade.

Because of the different methods used in their research, the ONS figures are lower overall – putting the number of pubs in the UK around 52,500 in 2001 and 39,000 in 2017.

Since then, the ONS report counted 38,815 bars and pubs in Britain in 2018 but a slight increase to 39,130 in 2019.

Where is the growth?

The good news is, growth in UK pub numbers is being seen across the industry, including small and larger pubs alike.

Among those with fewer than ten employees, growth was 0.4% in 2019, with a net increase of 85 new venues opened over the preceding year – the first positive growth in this category in the past 15 years of ONS measurements.

This was part of a 0.8% growth rate for the wider industry, as a net 315 new bars and pubs opened their doors for the first time between 2018 and 2019.

How are pubs succeeding?

It’s been a turbulent time for the pub sector since the start of the century, and many venues have worked hard to update what they offer to customers.

In 2014 ONS figures showed an almost identical proportion of bar and pub staff worked in preparing and serving food as worked in traditional bar roles.

Since 2015, foodservice roles in pubs and bars have consistently outnumbered those whose main duty is to serve drinks – a sign of how venues have diversified to cater for customers who want to eat out rather than those on a night out drinking.

With trends like ‘Dry January’ gaining in popularity year by year, pubs are also doing more to serve non-alcoholic options not only for designated drivers, but for those who are trying to cut down or eliminate their alcohol intake entirely.

What else can pubs do?

At Manco Automatics we continue to see pubs thrive by offering diverse entertainment, including traditional coin-op pub machines like fruit machines and pub pool tables.

Quiz machines have become a familiar fixture over the past 20 years and continue to offer new gameplay thanks to the ability to update the games and titles via a network link.

Finally, modern pub jukeboxes no longer just play music. They offer both music and video, along with interactive entertainment like automated pub quizzes that can keep customers engaged for longer.

All of this adds up to a diverse range of pub entertainment at a time when the sector is finally finding its feet once again, and we would urge all interested bar managers and pub owners to get in touch with Manco today to find out more.

 

 

Prepare for the new year with pub fruit and quiz machines

A new year has begun and as business returns to normal, it’s a great time to consider installing pub fruit machines and quiz machines to attract more punters during the remaining winter weeks.

There’s nearly three more months of winter still to come, followed usually by a rainy spring, so indoor entertainment can play a big part in keeping people on your premises for longer.

If you have the floor space, you could opt for pub pool tables as a way to entertain customers while adding a new revenue stream to your business.

But if floor space is at a premium, pub fruit machines and quiz machines create instant entertainment without requiring a very large physical footprint.

Just place them against a wall, up against a pillar or in a quiet corner and you can add an immediate revenue stream to a part of your premises that has perhaps been underused in the past.

Why fruit machines and quiz machines?

It’s not just about the amount of physical space they need. Pub fruit machines are a familiar fixture in many establishments up and down the country and having the latest titles installed can help your premises to look upkept and up to date.

Quiz machines are an even more modern addition and cater for small to medium-sized groups of friends who either take turns or designate one person with the authority to touch the screen.

Together these coin-operated pub machines raise revenues, provide entertainment for customers and help your premises to look relevant to present-day punters.

Revenues without the risk

If you want a low-risk way to add to your revenue streams, opt for a quiz machine or pub fruit machine on a profit-share arrangement.

This means instead of paying a fixed rental fee for the machine, you instead pay a percentage of any profits you make.

You get to keep the rest – so in a good month you make more, and in a slower month you pay less.

In this way, you get added peace of mind that your operating costs for the fruit machines and quiz machines on your premises should be more than made up by your profits.

Add fruit machines and quiz machines to your venue today and you can immediately start to benefit from this direct revenue stream, as well as the indirect increase in food and drink sales as customers stay for longer during each visit.

 

If you’re looking to hire a fruit machine or quiz machine for your venue, call Manco Automatics today on 0161 870 7777 or ask for a quotation via our contact us page.

Drink Industry Trends 2018: Time To Plan Ahead

It’s a good time to plan ahead as the drink industry trends for 2018 start to take shape in the run-up to Christmas, so what will customers be looking for over the next 12 months?

The Waitrose Food & Drink Report is one of the main areas of insight, and this predicts some important regional differences, as Scotland sees an increasing focus on locally brewed beverages while Wales has a growing thirst for detailed knowledge about wine.

Different drinks categories are also blurring the boundaries, with ale casks used by Glenfiddich to add a hint of hops to their whisky, and if this continues throughout 2018, the next big trend in fusion food could actually be drinks.

Repeat custom is crucial

If you’re still looking to capitalise on festive trade, industry analysts CGA recently put out a trend report that should be on your reading list in the run-up to Christmas.

This predicted that, like in 2016, the coming holiday period will see fewer people go out to eat and drink; but those who do go out will do so more often and spend more.

Repeat custom is crucial in this climate, so make sure your premises are a fully fledged entertainment destination complete with gaming machines, pool tables and juke boxes to keep customers interested.

Premium picks

Looking long-term, CGA have also found a trend towards premium products among British consumers, so those high-priced brands should sell well in 2018.

This applies not only to spirits, but also to beers, where craft ales and other premium beverages continue to gain ground.

The end of ‘ice and a slice’?

The Morning Advertiser recently reported on another premium trend – the tendency towards more specific garnishes and mixers in gin and tonic.

As more premium brand-name gins appear behind the bar even in local boozers, customers are increasingly expecting the right garnish to go with it, whether that means juniper berries, mint, grapefruit or cucumber.

It’s a challenge for operators to keep on top of a larger number of perishable ingredients, but it’s also an opportunity to justify premium-rate pricing on an otherwise simple G&T.

Brand-name mixers like Fever-Tree tonic complete the offering, taking the trend beyond the simple question of slimline or full-fat tonic.

It’s not only G&T that’s seeing increased customisation, as champagne and prosecco cocktails are also on an inexorable rise – and for many customers a glass of fizz is now incomplete unless there’s a shot of something fruity in the bottom of the flute.

 

Back To School

The new school year has started, so not only are there four and five year olds embarking on new adventures, but teens starting college and university. Students today have arguably higher expectations when it comes to their college and university common rooms, so you need to make sure yours is up to scratch.

To inspire you, take a look at our top 5 recommendations:

Pool tables 

Popular not only with sporty students, pool is a great way of encouraging students to take some time out and mix with others. It can be a great way for students to de-stress, especially during exams and when they’re overloaded with coursework. Have one or two pool tables in your common room can bring a smile to the faces of mature students too, they have wide appeal. Why not hire a pool table initially? They don’t have to have a standard green cloth top either, why not opt for red, purple or a colour to match your school colours?

Juke boxes

If you want to create a space that’s fun and vibrant, having good music is key. Rather than having the radio constantly on, why not get a digital juke box, so the students can choose what they want to listen to, and when?

Magazine rack

Having a magazine rack with a range of newspapers and magazines readily available, will be a great asset to any room. Make sure you stock a range of different publications so they have wide appeal, and remove any that get tatty or damaged. Some may go walkabout, but if you put a sign up requesting students keep them in the common room, any losses should be minimal.

Comfortable seating 

A common room is a place to socialise and relax, so the seating you choose should reflect this. Your sofas should be large enough for a group of students to sit on together, and you should have other chairs and beanbags dotted around the room. It’s a good idea to have at least one table, for those wanting to eat or study.

Bins 

It’s common sense, but if you want your common room to be left tidy, you need to make sure that there are plenty of bins available for the students to deposit any rubbish. During the course of the day, small bins will tend to get filled, so you’ll have to ask your cleaning staff to empty them regularly.

Manco Automatics

For more ideas on how you can entertain your students in your common rooms or SU, check out the full range of products available to hire and buy from our website >

 

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