Certified Cicerones Rob Griffith and Michelle Tham of Labatt Breweries of Canada offer their professional knowledge in beer—everything from beer styles, to draught systems, to food and beer pairing—to drive actionable insights from data by integrating beer education.
Data is shifting the way we make decisions in managing beer and draught programs. Leveraging information from POS reports or management observation to make smart decisions isn’t new; however, when insights from data are applied with beer knowledge, operators can make powerful and competitive decisions to reduce costs and increase revenue.
Find your gaps
POS systems are loaded with data, allowing you to break down sales by time of day, group size, menu items or even beer style. The possibilities are endless. For example, leveraging POS system data can allow the savvy restaurant owner to understand what the optimal draught lineup is based on top-selling styles, and where certain style gaps may exist. Are you over-indexed in hop-forward beers like IPA’s, and missing the diversity of approachable styles of light lagers (like Michelob Ultra) a traditional stout (like Mill Street Cobblestone Stout), or a best bitter that pairs well with food (like Goose Island Honkers Ale)? Understanding your style gaps will help put forward the most complementary draught selection that will maximize your sales.
Waste not, want not
Wastage is also an issue facing owners. Data are disrupting this by providing owners actionable insights into what causes wastage. Whether it’s a specific draught line that is foaming, a server that is improperly pouring draught beer or potential theft, understanding the data and employing proper keeping and beer-serving principles will allow for a quick fix. If data indicates that wastage is isolated to one draught line, investigating and employing draught knowledge to troubleshoot the source—whether it be associated with gas blend, gas pressure, fridge temperature, line cleaning or hardware components. If data insights lead to finding the issue with specific bar shifts—tailor bartender training to include draught pouring techniques, clean glassware practices and proper inventory storage and rotation.
Good things come in pairs
Lastly, analyzing data in bars and restaurants can provide insights into potential promotions that are already naturally occurring. Learning that a certain beer and food item are frequently purchased together is an insight that can be leveraged to run specials that help drive rate of sale, excite the customer and maximize revenue. Ensure that the pairing is complementary with knowledge of food and beer-pairing principles; look for an alignment of intensities, bridging of common flavours and cutting of tastes and textures between the beer and the dish. The Budweiser and Burger program is a great example of this—building around a complementary pairing of flavours and textures, while also being an order combination that inherently resonates with guests. Maximize the impact of the feature by being able to train servers to speak to the elements of the pairing and upsell the food and beer combination. Implementing knowledge of food and beer pairing, alongside sales trend insights, to make pricing and promotional decisions can help build your business.
Look to your POS to provide cost-saving insights, maximize revenue and lean into trends; this will help ensure you can make smart decisions in your beer and beverage operation for the long haul. Be prepared to make the most of the information gained from data by continuous beer education with your staff and management team. Knowledge of such beer foundations as draught systems, beer styles and food pairing drives action to the insights, leading to intelligent and impactful decision making.