It can be tough to find quality workers, and once you do, it’s even tougher to find brewery staff as passionate as you are. However, if you are able to make strong hires and build a positive company culture, you are well on your way to building an army of advocates for your brand.
Here are eight ways you can improve your workplace and in turn motivate your brewery staff, which ultimately makes your business even more successful.
This is the most obvious answer to begin our list: Simply reward your staff for doing a good job. This can be anything from a cash prize to a few extra low fills to take home to a gift card for a delicious local restaurant. Something tangible to say “thank you” has lasting value. The “you’re doing a great job” should always be said too.
It never hurts to also publicly recognize your staff with a “super awesome brewery employee of the month” plaque or simply a shout-out at a weekly meeting. Certificate maybe? A little positive reinforcement and recognition goes a long way.
While this is a variation of offering a reward, put specific metrics behind it. I love seeing breweries hold monthly to-go beer contests. Give a prize to the staff member that is able to encourage the most guests to purchase a crowler, growler, can or bottle. Most POS systems will help you monitor this.
The same holds true for the management staff. Give your taproom manager a nice bonus for increasing monthly sales by X percent. Reward your event planner for hosting an event that brought in twice the crowd as last year.
It’s important with regard to contests that you are able to measure the byproduct of your staffs’ efforts. Many of the breweries we work with via Secret Hopper recognize the staff member with the highest score on our mystery shop reports. Holding a contest for the staff member with the highest per head (total sales/number of customers) is also a winner. Mix up these contests to put focus on various areas across your brewery that need attention.
To-go beer tip
This piggybacks off the prior idea. When a staff member doesn’t ask a guest if they’d like to purchase beer to go, a guest only makes the purchase 9 percent of the time. However, when they do ask, a guest makes a to-go purchase nearly 50 percent of the time. So, when a staff member is able to encourage a guest to take beer home, that increases the guest’s tab, and guess what? Most guests will tip on the entire tab. Selling more to-go beer increases tabs and increases tips.
Share your passion
Running a business is about putting your heart and soul into what you do. This is contagious. Don’t just hire staff to pour beer. Hire staff to be the first line of brand advocates for your company. Share your story so that they can share it with their guests. Get them excited about coming to work. Craft beer can be one of the most engaging industries to work in, and that engagement starts with your story.
Think about the workplace
You can be extremely passionate and hope it rubs off on your staff, but unless you can pair that energy with an enjoyable workplace, it’s all for naught. Hire staff that enjoys working together and give them a taproom that makes them proud to call home. This could be through the overall vibe, and unique artwork, to the amount of energy you dedicate to maintaining the environment. No one likes working in a dungeon (OK, maybe a few people do), but the interplay among co-workers and the sense of team spirit is just as important, if not more so.
Give your staff room to grow/welcome ideas
Most people don’t join your brewery with the goal to pour pints for 50 years. With a young industry, comes a large host of opportunities. Craft beer currently holds approximately 13 percent of total beer by volume market share in the United States. Dare your staff to brainstorm new strategies to help your brewery sell more beer and grow. The potential from growth within your company is a great motivator.
Employee Stock Ownership Plans
We see these popping up more and more in the world of craft beer. When you make employees stakeholders in the brewery, they have more accountability and investment in your company. One person can navigate the ship, but when you have a whole army of advocates behind you, the journey goes much smoother.
Adding it all up…
Positive energy is transformative beyond the general pleasantness. When a guest receives low engagement on their first visit to a brewery, they are only 37 percent likely to return/recommend. However, when they receive high engagement, as a result of this wonderful environment full of passion you’ve created, a guest is 98 percent likely to return/recommend your brewery.
More passion leads to more engagement, which leads to more money being spent, more guests walking through your doors and a team that has organically become a better, tighter knit business.
Andrew Coplon is a founder of Secret Hopper, a mystery shopping company for craft beer businesses.