If you’ve read any of my articles before, you already know how passionate I am about education, engagement, and things like selling more beer to go and even physical menus. To succeed with a taproom, you and your staff need to best understand what your guests are looking for. One of the best ways you can do this is through simply getting to know them and their tastes.
And flights are one of your best tools to do this.
Before we dive into why I love flights, both as a consumer and as an advocate for helping business, let’s dive into why many of you do not.
- They slow down service
- They take too long to make.
- They create extra cleaning.
I include that “they slow down service” and “they take too long to make” separately because both arguments have different solutions. The making and the ordering portion of a flight are separate parts of the process.
You do not have the power to control how long it takes for a guest to fully decide which selections they want included. However, by offering different menu formats that a guest can access prior to the moment they must order, you can help them be better prepared. Additionally, consider listing pre-determined flights. This could be a flight of your flagships, or maybe even a flight selected by one of your staff members and highlighted as a special option.
From a Sunday afternoon Craft Beer Professionals post, it appears the average flight of four beers takes about 2 minutes to make. If your bartender is the one pouring the flights, consider bringing in an extra worker during busy days/times to allow the bartender to still engage with guests, while the added worker handles prep.
Flights, no doubt, create extra cleaning (4 glasses > 1, duh!). In the second half of this article we aim to show you why it’s worth it.
Why do I like them personally? As a consumer, especially when visiting a brewery for the first time, I want to explore your latest creations. As the father of a two-year old, I (unfortunately) am not able to enjoy 5 or 6 pints. However, I love the opportunity to begin with a flight, then follow-up with a pint of what I enjoyed most. And if asked to take some home, the answer is always yes.
From the perspective of your bottom line, offering flights will help you see higher tabs. Guests spend 25% more on visits when your staff suggest a flight. Let that sink in. This equates to an additional $10.17 per visit.
Breaking this down even further, a guest who is offered a flight and purchases beer to go, spends an average of $60.05. A guest who is not offered a flight and does not purchase beer to go, spends an average of $38.40. This a 56% increase in those offered a flight and purchasing beer to go, an additional $21.65.
Why should you consider offering flights?
- Higher tabs
- Greater tips. Contrary to many thoughts on those who order flights, we actually see those who are offered a flight tip a tad higher than those who are not (19.4% s 18.4%).
- Guests can find what they enjoy most (tasters are great, but flights = revenue)
- The opportunity to engage and educate with your guests. Teach them about your brewery and beers while going through the flight process.
- Greater to-go sales
Getting your staff excited to encourage more flights ultimately results in deeper connections with your guests, and guests who are more confident in what they enjoy from your brewery. If flights aren’t something your brewery offers, I encourage you to consider them or even half-pours.
Now I pass it off to my co-pilot Kary (which has a fantastic ring) to dive deeper into the finances of flights.
Sometimes, the best ideas are the simple ideas. And sometimes they are hiding right underneath your nose. As Andrew pointed out, guests spend 25% more on visits when your staff suggests a flight. An additional $10.17 per visit. Therefore, suggesting a flight qualifies as a great idea.
Consider a taproom that has 500 customers visit each month. An additional $10.17 per visit works out to over $5,000 per month and more than $60,000 per year in sales.
How about a taproom with 1,000 or even 5,000 visits per month? That’s an incremental $100,000 to $600,000 in potential revenue. Certainly, not all customers will want a flight, but you won’t know until you suggest one.
One challenge with great ideas is that they aren’t very effective unless you put them into action. Therefore, it’s helpful to create a goal, measure the results, and determine if the great idea is working as planned.
Try this experiment in your taproom. For one week, have your staff suggest a flight to every customer. At the end of the week, measure the results. How many customers said yes? What was the average spend per customer? What was the average spend per customer the week prior?
Take the experiment one step further and create an incentive for staff to suggest a flight to customers. This may help overcome any resistance or objections that your team has to offering flights. The incentive might be something small like a $10 gift card to Dunkin’ Donuts or Starbucks, recognition at a company meeting, or a handwritten note of thanks from the brewery owner.
It’s a simple experiment that might just yield extraordinary results. Put the idea into action, measure the results, and watch your sales take flight.
This research was collected through Secret Hopper, based on 5711 non-paid brewery visits, studying spending trends among men and women across various age ranges. The average brewery tab studied includes 1.95 guests. The sample set includes nearly a 50/50 mix of men/women.
This piece comes from the Taproom Success team. Taproom Success Membership gives you the tools, resources, and support you need to manage and grow your taproom business. From fundamentals, to best practices, backed by data, and actionable strategies, the Taproom Success Membership fills the void of taproom educational opportunities.