One of my favorite statistics of all-time is that when staff doesn’t ask guests to make the added to go purchase, the guest will only make the purchase on their own 9.9% of the time. When asked, guests pre-pandemic would have made the added purchase 49.9% of the time. Unfortunately, pre-pandemic study, we saw that only 19.5% of brewery staff were encouraging guests to purchase beer to go.
I am excited to report that taproom staff are getting better at encouraging beer to go. While a much smaller sample set, from March 2020 to March 2021, we analyzed 555 unique brewery visits, and see that brewery staff are now encouraging beer to go 10% more than before the pandemic.
Why is this? Did breweries have to reduce their taproom staff and maintain a higher percentage of their employees that were offering higher engagement? Did management motivate taproom staff to encourage it more? Were staff simply motivated on their own to increase tabs with hopes of higher tips? All possibilities.
During the pandemic, we are seeing guests that are not asked are making the extra purchase 5% more often, and 3% more often when asked. Nothing too drastic here.
However, our 2021 study shows that guests are spending more. The average tab from our “pandemic study” is $51.57, vs $43.43 pre-COVID. This is an increase of $8.14, or 18.7%.
Interestingly enough, the amounts spent pre-COVID vs. during the pandemic show the greatest increase when looking at situations when the guest did not purchase any beer to go. Prior to the pandemic, the average tab when beer wasn’t purchased to go was $41.20. During COVID, those not purchasing to go beer spent an average of $50.71, an increase of $9.51.
Those purchasing to-go beer pre-pandemic spent an average of $54.47 and $54.37 since March 20. However, we do see an increase of 9.5%, or $4.87, in situations during the pandemic depending upon whether or not the staff member encouraged it.
It can be hypothesized that those who had been purchasing to-go beer merely continued to do so. Also, those not purchasing to-go might be spending more because they had frequented fewer breweries and were treating the visit more so as a special occasion.
As the state of the world continue to improve, I hope to see guests visit breweries more frequently, continue spending healthy amounts on-premise, and maintain their levels of to go purchasing.
The research referenced in our Pre-Pandemic study was collected through Secret Hopper, based on 5687 non-paid brewery visits, representing an average check size of 1.95 guests studying spending trends among men and women across various age ranges. The total spent figures represent total amount including tip. The sample set includes nearly a 50/50 mix of men/women. The average age of respondent is 32.7 years old.
Andrew Coplon is the Founder of Secret Hopper, a mystery shopping company for craft beer businesses, and Craft Beer Professionals, a community dedicated to the growth and betterment of our industry. Check out all of his CBB articles here.