Founded in Miami, Florida in 2011, Vero Water developed an on-site filtration and bottling system which runs local tap water through a five-step purification process. The filtration system is connected to a countertop unit offering still and sparkling water dispensed through individual spigots. The Vero-branded bottles are then sanitized for reuse.
According to the company, 85% of customers order tap water at a dining establishment to avoid the expense of ordering bottled water, leaving the portion of customers “opting in” to purchase bottled water at a restaurant or hotel at 15%.
Vero Water can be found in 40 US states in thousands of fine-dining restaurants and luxury hotels including MGM Grand Resorts, Hard Rock Hotels, JW Marriott Hotels & Resorts, Starr Restaurants, Emeril’s Restaurants, and Myriad Restaurant Group, to name a few.
“While there might be profitability, that opt-in rate is really quite low,” VP of marketing, Michelle Beauchamp said. “We take that opt-in rate of 15% and take it up to 90%.”
Price of bottled water
“One of the questions we always asked ourselves is, ‘How come people don’t buy bottled water when they go to eat at a restaurant?’” Vero Water co-founder and VP of National Sales Michael Servetnick told BeverageDaily.
“Everybody at home is always going to filter their water. You’re never really going to a sink anymore. So why is it ok at a restaurant?” he added.
The avoidance of purchasing bottled water has mostly to do with the cost, according to Servetnick. A bottle of water per person can average $3 to $5 when eating out.
By implementing the Vero Water filtration system that cost comes down to approximately $1 per person with unlimited refills of the bottle.
According to Servetnick, Vero Water aims to value the customer by providing a premium product while helping the restaurant meet its margins.
Restaurants and hotels pay a fixed monthly price for the entire system which also includes a technician and monitoring services.
Pitching Vero to customers
It is up to the restaurant, particularly the servers, to educate consumers on Vero Water.
Servetnick says part of what Vero Water does differently is the staff training they provide along with the installation of the system. The training encourages servers to offer Vero bottled water as part of the opening conversation when speaking to diners.
In addition, the Vero Water system is placed in the front of the house so customers can see that the water is coming from a premium filtration device and bottled in a sleek glass bottle.
More sustainable bottled water
“Our biggest competitor is traditional imported bottled water,” Servetnick said. “They’re always trying to do new things, but I don’t think it’s catching on because the consumer is getting more educated.”
By transforming tap water and creating washable, re-usable bottles, the carbon footprint is minimal compared to sourcing, extracting, bottling and shipping bottled water often from countries thousands of miles away from the dining establishment, the company said.
The Vero Water filtration and bottling technology makes ordering premium bottled water “the affordable luxury that it really should be,” Beauchamp said.