NIGHTLIFE UNSCRIPTED, with Richard Monk, from Aztec Coin Equipment

NDML Meets Richard Monk From Aztec Coin Equipment At NRB 2024

Richard Monk, Company Director of Aztec Coin Equipment Limited, exhibiting at the NRB (Northern Restaurant and Bar) event for 2024. We questioned him on the future competitive socialising sector and what pub and bar operators need to do to future-proof their business. Richard also discusses the recovery of the sector, VAT changes and processes which need streamlining.

Richard Monk discusses his experience at NRB 2024:

“The event has been absolutely amazing so far. It’s our first time doing the event, we’ve been mobbed from start to finish. There’s quality people here, the right leads; the event’s done exactly what we’ve wanted it to do from the moment the show opened. Honestly, couldn’t be better, probably one of the best events we’ve done as a company for quite a long time.”

Richard discusses what he’s hope to learn at the event, and also share about Aztec Coin:

“We’ve been established since 1993, we know the game inside out, but we’ve not always been at the shows or events that we should have been. We need to give our company more exposure, we want to build the band, and elevate us to target some higher-end customers and consumers. We need to scale up the business a little bit more now and we are in a good position to do it.”

“Today we’ve come hoping to meet people with pub operations, hotels, who want the equipment that we’ve got. Particularly some of the bigger clients who have 20 sites, 30 sites, is where we’ll see real growth. We’ve talked to those people today and it’s been extremely useful.”

We asked Richard about the competitive socialising sector, and what the future looks like for competitive socialising operators:

“In COVID it took a huge downturn. We were pretty much decimated as a company, being suppliers to hospitality. We were able survive and ride the storm out, but I’ve got to say it’s been a very slow process since we’ve come back. I think in the last year, we’ve seen some real greenshoots, good growth, some businesses push forward. And I think anyone that is grafting and that is forward thinking, thinking outside of the box, is probably reaping the rewards.”

“I think what has come into the sector is more variety. The customers have got more choices now – they are not just going for a pie and a pint – there’s a lot of other things going on within certain venues, which is really helping. People have more confidence to go out and enjoy themselves, people maybe have more money than they had this time last year. And we [the nighttime sector] are seeing the benefits.”

“But the equipment has got to be good, top-notch; customers are demanding good stuff and good value. It seems the venues that are not investing are maybe struggling.”

We asked Richard, if he was made prime minister, what would he change about the nightlife sector and why?:

“There’s a lot of red tape, sometimes for pubs and bars to jump through. Obviously licensing control has to be tight, but I think the process of getting an alcohol license could be streamlined.”

“Staff recruitment; it is still difficult to get a bar up and running effectively. I think we just need maybe a relaxation in certain areas, the VAT change would help. Longer opening hours could be granted.”

“I know that there’s venues that we’ve supplied who have applied for diverse uses which haven’t been granted. Extensions and buildings. Maybe they [the government] needs to help and support the hospitality industry a little bit more than they are doing.”

“I think we are recovering, it is a balance between unregulated places going gung-ho. We want the right people running the right venues, and looking after the customers.”

“Deregulation, a reduction in VAT, and we’ll be going in the right direction. I think we still might see that as well; I hope so.”