Brewery Checkup

5 Critical Components For Your Brewery To Review in a Renewed Covid-19 Environment

5 Best Practices For A New Surge In Covid
Keeping the doors open is the biggest challenge facing brewpubs and taprooms today. If you’re still open, you’re doing something right. With the upcoming challenges from potential shorter hours of service, restrictions on capacity, changing seasons, and everything in between, now is a great opportunity to pause, look at everything, and say, where are we now? What was/is working? What wasn’t/isn’t working?

Your customers and community still desire an element of normalcy and are actively seeking positive experiences. To continue to succeed right now, it comes down to something that can be so simple yet incredibly hard: how you make every person you interact with—from your website to social media, to curbside, carryout, and delivery, to dine and drink in or dine and drink out—feel.

I know, I know…another article on what you could, should, or maybe have thought about or are already doing. So, here’s the thing, if you’re one of those operators already doing the dance, adapting on the fly, and 100% invested in daily operations, don’t stop reading here. Think of this as an oil change after six months of running hard, a tune-up, a reminder, a thought provoker. And most of all, think of this as a high five, take a moment, and recognize you’re still here because your community, customers, and guests want you to be. They want, need, and appreciate you. Here are a few things to consider having at the top of mind when you’re recapping operations for the last six months,. Whether they are new to you or things you are already doing, it may be time to change it up (again, yes again).

Without sounding repetitive to what we all have learned, the best way to communicate to current and future guests and customers right now is through your digital footprint. Connect what you are doing across that footprint, from your website to all of your social media accounts. More than ever, customers want continuous and accurate updates. Therefore, a well-constructed strategy should highlight and promote not just updated beer and menu offerings, but also physical changes and updates to the experience in ways that catch attention and prioritize health and safety.

Keep Highlighting Safety

This will never get old even if it seems like it to you, your staff, or guests. Show and talk about measures you are taking to ensure safety for your staff and guests, including all areas impacted, from receiving deliveries to brewhouse operations.

How safe you make guests feel directly impacts their decision to repeat a visit or engage in a first visit. Health and safety information should be easily accessible from your website’s homepage with direct contact information for questions.

Take the time to look through your health and safety postings on social media and your website. Refreshing the content on health and safety goes a long way to show guests and staff that this is always top of mind for your operation. Keep showing socially distanced options to order and pick up beer and/or food. Maybe you have curbside or a bagged meter for pickup – showcase where those are. What’s something new you’ve added to your protocols in recent months? Got a QR code? Might be time to take a look at that and make sure it has a border around it with your logo and contact information. QR codes are going to be around for the foreseeable future, so make sure your customers and guests can take a picture of it, save it, and even share it.

Spotlight the Beverage and/or Food Experience

Sidewalk seating? New patio setup? New menu items or specials? Remember, customers and guests are looking for an experience, they are looking for quality, safety, and above all else great beer and food in a great atmosphere. Highlight how guests will be able to get their experience from you. Share how guests and staff are enjoying the experience of being at your brewpub or taproom from curbside pickup to having a beer on the patio or lunch at a table.

If you haven’t changed up your food and beverage offerings for a while, now is the perfect time to do so. Keep guests engaged with a constant rotation or changing specials. Always wanted to try a recipe that didn’t quite seem to fit in with your day to day beer list or food menu? Now is the time. Adding creative, fun, and unique items to all of your menus gives you a direct line to bring in not only new guests, but excite your repeat guests and regulars, who may have already visited you this week or month and are now planning a quicker return visit. Call it a pop-up, have fun with it, create a theme with a special menu, beer release, or dish, and engage guests with something they cannot access regularly.

Feature Your Staff

Celebrate staff with images of the team in the act of service, plating a dish, pouring a beer, or setting up for service. Not only does this show the still very present human element of your brewpub or taproom, this also helps to build an emotional connection that ultimately leads to engagement and loyalty from guests.

Highlighting staff and showcasing the specific tasks they do daily to ensure safety and experience at your brewpub or taproom is essential in building and strengthening guests’ desire to choose to support you. Showing how your staff works, interacts, and executes a shift, while maintaining all health and safety protocols, brings a personal connection to the story by bringing them into the experience in a way that posting a picture of how to wear a mask never will. Let the work of your employees show guests what you are doing and how you are doing it.

Check Your Signage

Want people to see something? Put it on a sign. Six months ago, signs were going up faster than you could say IPA. Websites had hours wrong, apps said you were closed when you were open, everything changed every day, and, well, chalk is very easy to update. Signage seems to have fallen off the to-do list. Don’t assume everyone knows what the guidelines are or what you are doing. Even more so, have fun with signs. Use them to interact, highlight hours, specials, beer release dates, and hashtags. Update your safety signs as well, change the look of your “wear a mask” signage. Just as you would never lay a dirty beer list or menu in front of a guest, make sure all your signage is clean, not peeling, warped, faded, or dirty. Enlist your staff to help develop new and refreshing ways to communicate what has become second hand to many and controversial to some.

Be Honest

Someone on staff test positive for COVID-19? If you don’t have one already, develop a plan that, when needed, can be shared with your community. If anyone asks if you have a plan, share it, discuss it, answer questions as best you can. Closing down for a day, three, or more to deep clean, test staff, and reset? Please don’t call it closing for repairs. Be honest with your guests and community. Be as transparent as possible about what you are doing, why, and for how long, and respond to as many comments, queries, and emails you receive (100% if you can).

There is no formal study, no numbers to quote, but a firm belief is taking root in the hospitality industry that being honest with your guests about the health and safety of your staff and operation leads to a deep level of guest loyalty. Respect that would otherwise take a lifetime to build or one second to destroy.

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Article Retrieved from Brewers Association, written By Adam Dulye .
Photo Credit: Shutterstock