Interview: EzTenda’s ANZ GM reflects on recent Australian launch

May 31, 2024
By Cody Profaca

Drinks Trade recently caught up with Ian Mason, EzTenda’s Australian General Manager – Australia, to discuss how the first three months of its Australian launch have been going.

Drinks Trade: First thing’s first… What is EzTenda and what services does it provide?

Ian Mason: EzTenda makes drinks tendering easy. It facilitates building strong relationships and gets better support and better investment for venues and brands… We’re an easy-to-use digital platform that connects brands and venues. It’s that simple.

We build strong relationships through a whole of market access and making sure that the right brands and the right venues and what venues are looking for can link together. We make life easy and we save time, which is valuable at the moment as resources are getting tighter and tighter. Venues can tender, brands can bid, and it’s a win-win for everyone.

DT: How has the Australian launch been going?

IM: I’m really happy with where we’re at. We’re ahead of where we expected to be from an initial plan perspective. As always, we’d love to be moving faster, but all things considered, we’re in a great spot… We’ve got over 300 brands on the platform and that’s growing day by day. I get more and more inquiries from brands saying ‘I’ve heard about this, I’d love to get involved,’ which is fantastic.

If we step back to the UK; the UK took six months to have two/three tenders on the platform… So from an Australian perspective, the adoption has been quite quick. And like I said initially, the brands understand the benefits that this platform can bring to them in terms of extending their reach, reaching venues that they maybe wouldn’t have reached before, and being able to very efficiently tender with venues; so from a brand perspective, it’s been very positive.

Everything considered, EzTenda is really here and it’s doing really well and we’re moving in pace in the right direction.

DT: What are the risks and benefits associated with using the platform?

IM: There is always a slight skepticism of, you know, ‘the platform, what’s it going to do? What’s the risk for me using this?’ and that takes time for me to take through. The reality is EzTenda for venues is risk free. What that means is it costs them nothing to use the platform.

And they do not have to choose a winner if there is nothing that they find suitable for their business. So really, there’s no, there shouldn’t be any blockers in terms of why they’d use the platform. However, it’s new. So it’s, ‘I do this already. What are my key benefits?’ and obviously, then I can talk to the benefits of ‘it saves time on average:’ from the UK data, it saves 80 hours a year in terms of procurement, it drives efficiency in business practice. It builds strong relationships with venues and brands.

It’s always been pretty easy for venues to go ‘I’ve always been with this particular brand or this particular company’ and they just roll with that, but there are opportunities to get better offerings through the platform. I think the other thing to bear in mind from that perspective is we’re very much about facilitating relationships and [EzTenda] doesn’t take relationships away between venues and brands that are existing in any way. What it does for that is it simplifies, makes things more efficient and effective from a communication and tendering perspective. 

One of the biggest benefits we see from EzTenda is that it allows account managers who manage venues to go and execute, deliver, and help grow the venue rather than constantly talking commercials and moving from one commercial conversation to another.

DT: How about the fears that using EzTenda will interfere with relationships between venues and brands?

IM: There’s been conversations with venues where it’s called, this is going to stop me working with brands because I do everything through the platform, when actually, that’s the complete opposite of what EzTenda is about. 

It’s about facilitating relationships with existing and new brands in an efficient way and actually building stronger relationships over time because you’re getting the right brands with the right investment for your venue; and when I talk people through that, they can see it and understand it, but it takes time to demonstrate that to people. I think that’s the challenge of adoption in the short term.

It’s a slight bit more of a hand sell. As we build, as we get people using the platform/venues using it, and venues seeing the benefits of it, which is what we saw in the UK, there’ll be that organic build.

DT: How about the potential impact that a price-based tender system could have on long term brand/venue relationships? Do you feel as though Eztenda could disrupt relationships as prices fluctuate?

IM: No, so we understand that brands have relationships with venues, and there’ll always be pre-existing relationships that maybe will continue and we will never try and stop that. What EzTenda actually does is it creates competition, It opens venues up to new brands that they ordinarily might not have dealt with. 

On average in the UK, EzTenda’s generating 18% more investment, better investment, for venues than they were receiving before using EzTenda. We don’t have enough data here to say the same thing in Australia, but we’d expect the same thing to happen.

EzTenda creates competition, it opens them up to new brands, and it also gets the right type of support they’re looking for by categories

DT: What are EzTenda’s plans for the future?

IM: Globally, we’ve just launched last week into our third market, which is Spain, so we’re now in the UK, Australia, and Spain, with plans to extend it to further European markets, and, from my perspective, into New Zealand, once we have it [more established] in Australia.

In terms of branching into other segments of trade or even outside of drinks, we’re really focused on getting the on-trade in Australia right and building it to a point where we have critical success and critical mass that we can then look to expand.

DT: How should venues and brands try it out and get involved?

IM: The best way is to sign up through the platform, so it’s Within there, you can request a demo, which is done by me. I think one thing to be really clear about is I’m a person and we are people and every request comes through to me… and I will do every demonstration myself and sit down, whether that be in person or via Teams or however it be, with the venues or the brands to take them through the process. 

It takes a minute to sign up for both the brand and the venue. It’s very simple. We’re not asking for mountains of details. It’s very simple to sign up and to get access to create your tender and as soon as you sign up, I see that, I get a notification, and I will contact you with offers of support to get set up and to get going. 

The other thing, creating a tender is a simple five-step process that takes anywhere between five and ten minutes; it’s not a long, arduous system that you need to learn. It is very simple, very quick, because we are designed to support venues and brands to grow their business in a simple way

And then from a brand perspective, again, it’s a simple five-step process to create a tender or bid on a tender… again, roughly five minutes to do. 

Our whole point of being is to make tendering more efficient, and build a strong relationship: that’s what we exist for. So it’s very simple to sign up and to do.

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