A Customer-Centric Drive
“It’s an incredibly exciting industry to say the least, but immensely challenging at this point in time.” We speak to Leigh Rowe, Director at Paramount Liquor, about the food and beverage industry in Australia, and the company’s latest digital developments in the field
Writer: Marcus Kääpä | Project Manager: Ben Weaver
“It’s an incredibly exciting industry to say the least, but immensely challenging at this point in time – our industry hasn’t been hit this hard before.”
The words of Leigh Rowe, Director at Paramount Liquor, sums up a widely shared view of the food and beverage industry in light of the past 18 months. COVID-19 brought to the forefront of the industry an issue unparalleled for decades, or arguably one unmatched in its global impact on the sector than ever before. Despite this, Rowe holds an optimistic view towards the future of the industry and that of the current decade.
“With all challenges come opportunities, and I think we are seeing the explosion of entrepreneurs in this space, such as craft brewers and distillers,” Rowe says. “And even though the hospitality sector has had to adapt to the restrictions and change their business operations, I think we will see a new wave of restauranteurs and bar owners coming soon.”
Paramount Liquor is currently Australia’s largest family-owned liquor wholesaler with over 10,000 products ranging from mainstream bar favourites to limited release and allocated stock. The company has over 300 team members across four states (Victoria, New South Wales, Australian Capital Territory, and South Australia).
Its largest customer base is made up of from on-premise traders, such as restaurants, bars, cafes, pubs, clubs, hotels and events, but the company also supports off-premise and retail traders through its recently launched banner group, Sessions Liquor.
“Our vision is to create the best food and drink culture in the world,” Rowe informs us. “Our mission is to be Australia’s most innovative service driven beverage wholesaler, providing our customers with world class experts, insights and solutions to create the world’s best drinks culture.
“We are focused on our customers, our staff and the evolution of the Paramount Liquor business while being a family-owned and very proudly Australian business.”
Paramount Liquor has recently launched its new website as well as a loyalty programme to give back more to its customers and promote the opportunity to partner with other businesses that can provide unique solutions in the food and beverage space.
“We spent years listening to our customers and a year building our new website based directly on their feedback,” Rowe tells us. “Our customers told us they wanted real-time insights and a website that was easy to use, and we believe that we delivered that.
“Amongst many other new features, our customers have the ability to access live stock-on-hand information, a smooth backorder process including notifications via text/email when it comes back in stock, and the ability for suppliers to be able to load discounts, place orders, create new products, manage their inventories, reports and more, all the while being a smooth and easy process. Our customers are the lifeblood of our business and we wanted to show them we valued them, as well as reward their loyalty.”
To this end Paramount Liquor released Evolution Rewards, a simplified loyalty programme where customers can earn points for every dollar spent that can be redeemed on all products from glass and barware to experiences, events, gifts, travel, and team activities. In line with this, Paramount Liquor have chosen to partner with a wide range of businesses offering many solutions to best accommodate and meet the needs of its varied customer base.
“We acquired a technology company called VisualR in order to have a team ready to support our important customer base and see us positioned to launch new initiatives with ease,” Rowe elaborates. “Our old website simply didn’t meet the needs of our customers, and so with the introduction of the new website we wanted to provide a more modern e-commerce experience. We know our customers are busy venue operators and don’t have time to be messing around with outdated software. Our new website has many benefits and the ability to add customer user accounts to manage their privileges.”
Without the dedicated and hard-working employees that work for the company, much of this would not be possible. For Paramount Liquor, the internal company team and external suppliers are central to operational success, and vital for a digitally led future.
“Into this future we are continuing to build on our digital progress to ensure that we continue to lead our industry,” Rowe says. “We will continue to develop our loyalty programme to ensure that our offerings are attractive, relevant and resonate with our customers.
“Paramount Liquor is looking to bring the LSB business onto platforms such as Encompass, which is our ERP system, and our website while also looking to their experience to identify opportunities for improvement in our own business.”
Paramount Liquor have also built up a marketing team to work closely with the company’s suppliers in order to deliver curated content for its customers. This includes events that are compelling and insightful and enable Paramount Liquor’s customers to continue to learn and hone their skills with the aim of welcoming more patrons into their venues. And spearheading all of this is Paramount Liquor’s team members and all-important staff.
“We wouldn’t be where we are without them,” Rowe affirms. “We are a national business with ties to local community, yet we have a global reach. Partnering with organisations and employees that share and support our company vision and mission and turn up every day to bring our values to life, is something that we strive for.”