Studying data from craft breweries is fascinating. Some statistics merely validate assumptions, whereas others often produce larger than life results. Early on, via Secret Hopper, we released a study on to-go beer purchases. We found that when brewery staff doesn’t ask a guest if they’d like any beer to go, guests make that purchase 9 percent of the time. When staff does ask the question, guests make the added purchase 49.1 percent of the time. A 40 percent increase just by asking.
Our most recent study is nearly as mind-blowing. This study shows the change in spending habits from offering your guests physical menus.
Every brewery should have proper signage to make drinkers aware of the offerings. It seems obvious, but make sure your menu is visible and easy to read. Additionally, I recommend including the style, alcohol content, size options and pricing. A large menu is an easy way to expedite the ordering process so that guests can have an idea of what they’d like to order when their time comes. Whether a chalkboard, TV or anything in between, for this article, we will refer to these menus as “wall menus.”
In addition to having a wall menu, what percentage of breweries also offer guests a physical menu? The answer is 58.3 percent. We define a “physical menu” as any sort of menu that a guest can hold in their hand.
From our data set, 86 percent of breweries satisfy our wall menu requirements. Out of the 14 percent that do not, 69.4 percent offer their guests a physical menu. I will venture to say that that remaining 30.6 percent should consider this option or work towards creating a more informative, legible, visible wall menu. Out of the 4100 brewery visits included in our study, 58.3 percent offer their guests physical menus.
At this point it must be noted that I am not advocating for wasting paper or cutting down more trees. Any decision to further consider a physical menu option is strictly that of each brewery. However, I will share the facts.
When guests do not have a physical menu, they spend on average $37.25.
When guests are given physical menus, they spend an average of $49.62. This is a 33.2 percent increase – just by offering your guests something they can touch.
Here are several explanations for this increase.
- Physical menus are a great way to facilitate conversation. What craft beer nerd doesn’t love talking about beer?
- Physical menus encourage a guest to learn about and plan for their next drink. Craft beer drinkers love learning about your brewery, and this is one way you can further educate them and excite them about your offerings.
- People feel obligated to read what’s in front of them. While the majority of brewery guests travel in groups of three, many solo travelers relish the opportunity to study your menu while sippin’ on your latest creation.
I constantly preach the importance of education in craft beer. Menus, both wall and physical, are basic and highly effective ways to connect guests deeper to your brewery. Take the time to carefully plan out the information you share via these mediums. Inform, not overload. You run a business, and it is your goal to maximize your guests’ experiences and keep them spending money at your establishment. A physical menu is proven strategy to achieve these goals.
This research was collected through Secret Hopper, based on 4100 non-paid brewery visits, studying spending trends among men and women across various age ranges. The sample set includes nearly a 50/50 mix of men/women.
Andrew Coplon is a founder of Secret Hopper, a mystery shopping company for craft beer businesses.