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December 14, 2021



5 ways to boost your on-trade brand performance and sales with Hot Zones

Martin Müller

Content Lead

This article is also available in other languages

At SharpGrid, we are always looking for new ways to help our clients succeed in the on-trade channel. One of the latest concepts we have developed is outlet (POS) targeting through “Hot Zones”. It enables FMCGs to pinpoint their precious resources to high brand-building and category-potential areas across Europe.

What is a Hot Zone?

There are two ways to describe and define a Hot Zone: 

  • In plain words, it is an area where many (typically younger) people spend their time, have fun, eat and drink and spend their money in on-trade outlets such as bars, pubs, restaurants and others.
  • In precise technical terms, it is an area with an on-trade outlet density above 120 outlets per km2.

5 ways to benefit from Hot Zones

  • Exposure: Outlets in Hot Zones benefit from a disproportionately high share of people traffic which means higher exposure for your brand.
  • Marketing: Outlets in Hot Zones generate significantly higher “marketing buzz” and word of mouth that you can strategically and tactically utilize in your marketing activities.
  • Revenues: Outlets in Hot Zones generate higher food & beverage revenues than outlets outside Hot Zones - 2.2x more revenues to be exact, using our F&B revenue rank indicator in SharpGrid Outlet Census
  • Lower costs: Due to high outlet density, outlets in Hot Zones exhibit lower average cost-to-serve (sales and logistics costs).
  • Transparency: Hot Zones might help you discover faulty assumptions about the market (see the chapter below)

To put it plainly, a Hot Zone is an ideal place for brand building, product showcasing and revenue generation at below average route-to-market costs!

FREE ON-TRADE DATA: Discover the on-trade market position of your brands and your competitors completely free of charge

A brief look at the data in the Polish on-trade

Hot Zones are a part of the SharpGrid Market Meter live reporting tool. Using Market Meter, we can pinpoint brands that are successfully on Hot Zones and enjoying a relatively stronger position / higher numeric distribution there.

Why is that important? Without transparency about Hot Zones, you might get the wrong perception of your performance. For example, you might be happy about having a high numeric distribution and customer count in the whole market. 

However, suppose your competitors overtake you in the Hot Zones. In that case, it will gradually start eating away at your brands' or products' overall popularity, perception, new consumer recruitment and could cost you a lot of money in the long run.

Let’s look at some specific examples from the Polish on-trade spirits market.

Amongst Vodka brands, Belvedere (32% in Hot Zones vs. 12% overall) or Soplica (28% vs. 18%) are gaining strong advantage in Hot Zones while for example Finlandia (46% in Hot Zones vs 58% overall) is significantly underperforming there.
Amongst Whiskey brands, Jameson (59% in Hot Zones vs 29% overall) or Tullamore (29% vs. 13%) are strongly winning while Ballantines (49% vs. 59%) is underperforming.

With the Market Meter, our clients can assess their and competitor brands and clearly see what advantage they are gaining in brand performance, visibility, and popularity thanks to being present in Hot Zones.

READ MORE: 2 major hidden costs of the on-trade channel you should know about. And how to stop them from eating away your profits

Locating the “hottest” areas

But where exactly are all these Hot Zones located? Most of them are concentrated in city centers, seasonal spots and “busy” areas around  major points of interest. Surprisingly, many could be also found in very sparsely populated areas that attract people / traffic. The smallest town with a Hot Zone we identified in Poland had a population of just 2,000.

An interactive map of Outlet Census product on a laptop.ů
An interactive map with Hot Zones along Polish northern coast.

Would you have thought of that? Do you think your resources and investments should be focused on Hot Zones outlets?

As you can see, there are opportunities everywhere. You just have to know where to look for them. If you’d like to learn more about Hot Zones in Spain, Italy, Poland, Czech Republic or Slovakia or if you are interested in discussing how the Hot Zones approach could benefit your business, do not hesitate to contact us.


If you'd like to see what our products can achieve for your business in a real-life scenario, see how we helped Heineken Czech implement a data-driven sales transformation in the on-trade channel to make their sales teams more efficient and help them precisely measure the impact of their actions in order to allocate their resources better, or check out how our products ramped up Unilever's customer acquisition efficiency by more than 300 %. In both cases, we brought a significant remake of how things were done to give our clients a data-driven head-start over their competitors by utilizing the digital data boom happening in the on-trade channel right now. Our products are easily scalable to meet the demands of big multinational companies as well as smaller ones. Check out our Market Meter, Outlet Census and service sections to see what we can do for you.

Do you like data insights? You might be interested in these

Can you get to a newly opened outlet faster than your competitors? With our data, it is possible. We can literally predict when and where a new on-trade outlet will open. Check out our solution to see if it might work for you as well.

Which beverage is most widely distributed in Czechia and how can this information help your business? See how you can track important metrics like distribution, pricing, or menu share with our Market Meter reporting tool.

Learn how to compare two cities in terms of prices thanks to our Market Meter reporting tool. Thanks to a total granularity of our data, we can select any performance cell (be it city, region, outlets with specific cuisine etc.) and compare it to another.

SharpGrid is a data & tech company reinventing market research in the on-trade channel. The on-trade channel consists of POSs (point of sale) where food & beverage is bought and consumed, and is often also called HoReCa, on-premise, food service, out-of-home, gastro or immediate consumption (IC) channel, hospitality, on-licence.


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