Local restaurants and pubs have been taking advantage of Richard Nuttall’s unique business, which combines advertising, local business and trivia in one convenient glass. Over a year ago, Nuttall and his wife were spending time with friends at a Fat Belly’s Pub when they discovered it was trivia night. They ended up playing, staying much longer than they intended, and eating and drinking more. It was here that Nuttall first came up with his business plan.
“Wouldn’t this be a great idea to put trivia on the glasses,” said Nuttall.
That is the premise behind Trivia Glasses. Nuttall provides area restaurants and bars with free pint glasses, which feature instructions for a text-based trivia game. Patrons at the bar are able to text one of the categories listed on the glass to the number provided and, within seconds, a multiple-choice trivia question is sent to them. One simply sends their guess, and they will receive a text with the answer and another question in return.
“I did create all of the questions in all of the categories,” said Nuttall, who tries to sit down once a week to add questions to his database. Categories include animals, history, movies, music, Rhode Island trivia and sports.
Nuttall’s business does not stop there. In order to fund this venture, he sells advertising on the glass to local businesses. “There is no cost to restaurants, but they are supporting and advertising local business,” said Nuttall, who had careers in corporate sales, advertising and real estate before establishing Trivia Glasses in March 2012.
Each ad on the glass features a unique QR code, which when scanned by a smart phone will bring up the company’s website, Facebook page, a video ad or any other media determined by the client. There are also QR codes for Trivia Glasses website and the website of whatever bar the glass is at; the glass also features the logo of that restaurant or bar.
Ad space sells for an average of $595 for a six-month period. After the sixth month, the bar hosts what Nuttall calls a pint giveaway weekend to get rid of all their current Trivia Glasses; Nuttall will then provide a new set of glasses. Businesses currently advertising on the glasses will be given the chance to maintain their ad space first before Nuttall gives the opportunity to others.
Since Nuttall’s company provides all of the pint glasses for the bar, they prefer that no other branded glassware be used. However, some brews are still served in brand-specific glasses, such as Guinness or Stella Artois. For example, Nuttall explained that at Dave’s Bar and Grill, 57 of the 60 available beers are served in Trivia Glasses.
“Initially we provided 12 cases [of glasses],” said Nuttall, “but over time we determined 20 cases to be a better number.”
With 24 glasses in a case, that is a total of 480 glasses provided to each restaurant. If for some reason, a restaurant needs to order more Trivia Glasses, they will have to cover half of the cost.
In addition to ads and a trivia game, the glasses also feature a Beer-O-Meter. Serving as a window on the glass, Nuttall added the feature when servers explained that the number of ads on the glass made it difficult for them to see when customers would be in need of another drink.
The glasses, which are printed in seven to 10 days by a local Pawtucket company, can currently be found in more than a dozen restaurants, including Dave’s and five Fat Belly’s locations.
“I want to be in the most popular restaurants in Rhode Island,” said Nuttall.
While he may be focusing on getting into area restaurants, Nuttall also has plans for the future. He hopes to make Trivia Glasses a national brand, but knows that is a long way off.
“It is important to stay local; being local provides control,” explained Nuttall.
In the meantime, Nuttall has a few ideas in the works. While current Trivia Glass users only win bragging rights, Nuttall hopes to have each restaurant present a gift certificate to a weekly winner; Trivia Glasses would pick up the tab. The Trivia Glasses website will also feature a coupon area where those businesses on the glasses can provide special deals to users.
Additionally, Nuttall hopes to take advantage of established trivia nights at the bars that use his glasses. Since patrons are being engaged in a live trivia contest, and not necessarily focusing on the glass, he plans to get businesses on the glass to provide prizes for the events.
In terms of expanding his own business, Nuttall hopes to expand to printing his own branded glassware. Over the past year, he found restaurants unwilling to use Trivia Glasses because a cup covered in ads did not fit their establishment. By eventually owning his own cylindrical screen printer, Nuttall could provide those restaurants with glasses featuring their own name at a competitive price.
“Once I get my own machine, it will greatly reduce my cost,” said Nuttall, who is currently looking for an investor to help with the project.
So the next time you are looking for something to talk about over drinks during happy hour, take a look at your glass. You may just find a great game to play.