Engagement is an essential factor in maximizing your guests’ experiences. Staff have a greater opportunity to build this relationship during slower times; however, even during the busiest shifts, a bartender or server can create a memorable connection with your guests. Here is a formula to maximize engagement during these times.
The first part of your 30 Second Conversation begins with your greeting.
Begin by being approachable and welcoming. It is your job to acknowledge your guests; don’t just stare and wait for them to speak. If you miss this opportunity to create an interaction, you have already reduced your effectiveness.
This doesn’t have to be fancy, just a simple, “Hi, I’m Andrew. Welcome to Andrew’s Brewery.” With just these seven simple words, you are not only starting the conversation already but also making a little bit more money for yourself (according to data gathered by Secret Hopper):
- When staff introduce themselves, guests tip 13.6 percent more.
- When a brewery employee greets a guest in this manner, that guest will recommend, and return based on that experience 94.9 percent of the time.
- When a brewery employee does not begin the experience with a smile, “hello,” or other welcoming gesture, that guest will only recommend/return 75.9 percent of the time. This is a difference of 19 percent.
A simple greeting lets your guests know that you’re glad they decided to drink with you.
Remember: Be friendly.
At this moment, that guest is all that matters. These few seconds could include phrases such as, “How’s your day going?” “Have you visited before?” and “What a beautiful evening, glad you came to visit.” You will sometimes feel like a broken record as you hold this same conversation countless times throughout the day, but that doesn’t matter during each interaction. Look at each guest as an opportunity to fine tune your conversation skills. Get personal and create an instant connection.
Next, offer direction.
This can include, “What’s your favorite style of beer?” “Looking for anything in particular?” “Want to start with a flight?” You’ve already gotten to know a little bit about your guest, now get to know their tastes. This will help you better serve them during this encounter, but also help you better assist them on future visits.
The fourth component to this conversation is the delivery.
Announce to your guest what you are serving. Recite not only the name, but also the style. “Here’s your Secret Hoperation, our limited edition Belgian IPA.” If serving a flight, let your guest know the order in which their selections have been arranged. “Here’s your flight. It goes left to right, starting with our lager, IPA, Belgian dubbel, then stout.” This is a short moment of education. For many guests, this could be their first experience at your brewery. Make sure they know what they’re drinking. It shouldn’t have to be said, but don’t just sling a drink at your guests and walk away.
Your final element to this 30 Second Conversation is the finish.
This should be where you wish the guest well. During this portion, include phrases such as, “Enjoy your pint. Thanks again.” “Thanks for coming to visit.” “Come see me when you need another. Cheers!” Let the guest know you value their purchase.
The finish shouldn’t be glossed over:
- When a guest receives this goodbye, that guest will recommend, and return based on that experience 95.4 percent of the time.
- A guest who does not receive a sincere thank you, will only recommend/return 70.7 percent of the time. This is a 24.7 percent difference.
The “thank you” is one of the final moments of your guests’ experience and maximizing it is extremely beneficial in creating a positive memory.
Craft beer is no longer just about great beer. It’s about creating relationships and memories. The 30 Second Conversation is a simple way to build a connection with your guests. While 30 seconds is a very quick interaction, it is possible to achieve the above goals. If time permits, any extension of any step adds more value. Make guests feel welcomed, engaged, and appreciated. It is your job to be an ambassador for your brewery. Don’t just be a person who pours beer.
Andrew Coplon is a founder of Secret Hopper, a mystery shopping company for craft beer businesses.