Created in May 2017, Secret Hopper is a mystery shopping company for craft beer businesses. We wrote about them originally here. The goal of Secret Hopper is to help breweries monitor their tasting room, increase their in-house revenues, create more repeat customers and find new ways to differentiate in a crowded market. Approaching one year in business we reached out to Founder Andrew Coplon to see what Secret Hopper has learned during that first year of operation. What are some successful customer service experiences? What are some bad ones? And how much money is being made or lost in each scenario?
Customer experience is what sets apart a world-class brewery from being a great brewery. Through nearly a year of collecting data on guests’ brewery experiences, Secret Hopper has discovered some huge statistics that speak to the importance of customer experience. The below statistics are based on a year of collecting data from 110 craft breweries coast to coast. These breweries range from several “Top 50 Breweries of 2017” as named by the Brewers Association to breweries still in their early days of operation.
1. When brewery staff offers recommendations, a guest spends 10.3 percent more.
While offering recommendations may seem like a no brainer, our data shows that brewery staff only offer recommendations 50 percent of the time. Simply encouraging your taproom staff to engage more with guests can easily increase your brewery’s tasting room revenue.
2. When brewery staff introduces themselves, a guest tips 13.6 percent more.
You read that correctly. Merely, by saying “Hi, my name’s Andrew,” my tip has already statistically increased. When visiting a tasting room, guests are of course looking for enjoyable beer, but they’re also looking for a unique experience. Your tasting room staff is just as important to your brewery as the beer in their glasses. People want to feel a connection. Encourage your staff to begin that with an introduction.
3. Only 7 percent of brewery experiences end with the staff suggesting “beer to go.”
I don’t know about all of you, but after I’ve had a couple pints and someone asks me if I’d like to take any more home, that’s a pretty easy “yes.” Just as we encourage staff to always begin their interaction with an introduction, we encourage them to end it with asking the guest if they’d like to take any beer home.
One client of ours, which is in its ninth month with Secret Hopper, began with only 25 percent of staff suggesting “beer to go.” The most recent month they were up to 75 percent. Another client, also on their ninth month with Secret Hopper, has seen a 40 percent increase in to-go beer sales.
4. When brewery staff enhances a guest’s experience, that guest spends 20 percent more.
When brewery staff enhances a guest’s experience, the staff is making it better in some aspect. An enhanced experience may include the staff sharing information about the brewery, giving prompt service, being polite, engaging with their guests or a combination of the above that makes the guest’s experience better. Engaged guests spend more money.
A guest spending $40 during a regular visit spends $48 when their visit is enhanced. Now imagine they also bring three additional guests with them. Just by enhancing their visit, the party is spending an additional $32 as a result of your staff building a connection.
Our data shows that the studied breweries are achieving this “enhanced” experience 65 percent of the time. That remaining 35 percent is an area where per caps can be increased drastically and the customer experience bettered. Out of this 35 percent, approximately one-third stated they would not recommend or return to that brewery as a result of their experience. It should be the goal of any business owner to make every guest that walks through their doors want to be a guest for life.
Your brewery should be striving for that enhanced experience 100 percent of the time. A huge part of being a successful brewery is practicing basic business practices. Customer experience is often the missing ingredient in craft beer.
More on Secret Hopper
Mystery shopping isn’t something just corporate restaurants use. It’s your competitive advantage to gain customized feedback on your business. Secret Hopper’s six month package includes four visits a month at the rate of $40 per visit. The average Secret Hop brings in $43 in sales, two engaged guests and beneficial feedback helping you track areas including the four points mentioned above. Worst case, we bring you a couple of guests that wouldn’t have been there otherwise. Best case, we help you find new areas to grow and make you even more profitable.