The world has changed quite a bit since we’ve put out one of these (round 1, round 2). In prior editions, our lists featured primarily engagement and environment based unique observations our Secret Hoppers made while visiting breweries coast to coast. We have since updated our feedback to include comments on COVID-19 related procedures – everything from questions on sanitation/cleanliness to food safety to social distancing.
Upon review, I believe the word “safe” is the most noted term when describing a positive experience. Here are 10 observations made since the pandemic began.
Where do we order/ Where can I sit/ Will somebody serve me?
Does this one sound familiar? This was also number one on our second list. We had countless shoppers comment on the confusion over the ordering process. As you aim to reduce contact and provide the most streamlined ordering process possible, be sure to provide guests with ample signage to educate them on your new processes, and have staff offer direction as well. Consider having a greeter to welcome guests.
Is my table clean?
It seems so many breweries are utilizing clever, little signs on their tables to note whether they have been recently sanitized. However, if the signs are always out, how do guests really know if the table has been cleaned or if the sign is a remnant from before the prior guest first sat down? Make your guests feel safe and clean. An extra wipe down before they take a seat is also appreciated. Either have a staff member visibly cleaning tables as they turn or consider adding a time stamp (dry erase maybe?) to your signage. And don’t forget the chairs!
What the #$%* is a QR code?
QR codes have been around for quite some time, but not everyone knows how to use them. I didn’t have the privilege of using one until August 2020. Make sure you take the time to educate all guests how they work. Don’t just slap a fancy barcode on your table and wait for the orders to come in. Additionally, make sure the menu they lead to has all the relevant information. One of our shoppers mentioned that the brewery they visited didn’t include the ABV! Educate, educate, educate.
Can I still have a sample or order a flight?
Are you seeing a trend here? Nearly all our shoppers’ “unusual” observations since the pandemic are in the form of a question. Fight the confusion and provide answers. Once again, a little signage goes a long way. Wouldn’t you rather have your staff use their time to talk about beer and the brewery than respond to questions that could have been answered non-verbally? Let them know why and how you’re not offering flights/samples – to reduce touch points and limit contact as much as you can.
Should my server wear gloves?
A shopper who we’ve sent to a couple different breweries lately made this observation. One brewery they visited had all staff serving beer wearing gloves, while the other did not. Change gloves and/or clean and sanitize religiously. Whatever choice your brewery makes, make it so your guests feel safe. You can’t go wrong with a bottle of sanitizer on the counter, whatever decision you choose. It is vital to show your guests that you are listening to their feedback to provide them the best current experience possible.
Can my kid come?
This isn’t to ignite the never-ending kids in breweries debate, this is about consistency and awareness. Does your brewery only allow children Tuesdays to Thursdays to keep the weekends strictly for beer purchasing guests? If so, make sure this information is visible on your social media and in your taproom. No one likes to plan for a time out and discover that their purple juice (that looks suspiciously like that limited edition, unknown ABV, fruited sour) sippin’ baby can’t join in on the fun.
Why didn’t anybody check on me?
I get it, it’s tougher to engage in a world of masks and social distancing. But guess what? You can still check on your guests and make them feel appreciated. These little touch points remind your guests that you care and can ultimately encourage them to purchase that next beer they were on the fence about. No one likes to be forgotten.
Thanks for making the other guests wear masks!
Granted this may have a different level of value to you based on where you live and the current state of COVID-19 in your area, but we’ve had countless shoppers comment things like “the strict precautions were very nice” to “the staff in face masks were great” to “I loved to see the staff wash hands between customers.” Keep up the good work and wow everyone who walks through your doors and outdoor spaces.
Is the touch pad on the register clean?
We hear emphasis put on making sure tables are left spotless, but don’t forget to wipe down your point of sale system after a guest checks out. Take this small audio tidbit of advice my wife sent my way. Wipe, wipe, wipe it down, wipe.
And here’s a quote worth sharing from a recent shopper
When asked how their taproom experience compared to others they have visited since reopening, this is how they responded: “Excellent. There are beer lovers who don’t believe COVID is a hoax and want a safe experience when going out. This has by far been one of our safest.”