At this point on the rollercoaster that is 2020, we’re all accustomed to social distancing and wearing masks everywhere we go—it’s just good manners. Those who are enjoying in-person drinking and dining are facing new protocol for their on-premise experience. And while craft purveyors are masters of creating spaces in which guests feel at home, mask mandates and other regulations can feel restrictive when typical means of connection like smiles, visible facial expressions, and close conversations aren’t accessible anymore.
Now more than ever, it’s important to establish relationships with guests and make sure they feel safe and cared for. How can you uphold the same level of hospitality and connection with them when you can’t rely on the old go-tos? We have a few ideas!
Image from Ska Brewing
Before we look at ways to highlight service and hospitality 2020-style, let’s distinguish the difference between them. In his groundbreaking guide on hospitality, Setting the Table, restaurateur Danny Meyer describes the difference, “Service is the technical delivery of a product. Hospitality is how the delivery of that product makes its recipient feel.”
Service encompasses the nuts and bolts of dining, like delivering an IPA in a beer-clean glass and ensuring guests have plates and utensils before their shared appetizer arrives. Hospitality is the human element that makes the guests feel welcome and taken care of: catching up with regulars who haven’t visited in a while, or figuring out a guest’s preferences to guide them to the perfect menu selection.
Service is the technical delivery of a product. Hospitality is how the delivery of that product makes its recipient feel.
Good service without hospitality lacks soul and lowers the likelihood that guests will return. Together, service and hospitality guarantee an excellent guest experience that creates “contagious loyalists”—the individuals who will spread the good word and invite their friends and family to join in their loyalty.
Considerations for the nuts and bolts of your on-premise guest experience.
Image from Bathtubrow Row Brewing Co-op
Tasting rooms that once utilized a counter service model are changing things up to prevent crowding and unnecessary movement through their space. As we’ve explored previously on the Arryved blog, floating service is an ideal alternative to counter service, and more labor-efficient than a full table service model. Floating service allows guests to relax and feel at home, gives servers more touchpoints to engage, and keeps staff and guests safe.
Although floating service is currently a health necessity, the benefits are sure to outlast the pandemic.
Payment is, of course, a necessary part of going out! Consumers and businesses are rethinking payment forms—cash, cards, and shared touch screens are all ripe for contagion. When it comes to contactless payments, you have options!
• Tap and Pay. Card readers enabled with “tap and pay” technology allow the customer to hold their card above the reader without actually touching it. Many of these readers also accept digital payment methods like Apple Pay or Android Pay.
• Mobile Pay. Mobile payment apps like Arryved Mobile eliminate the need to pull out a card at all. Guests can store their card on their account and close out from the safety of their own devices..
• Web Pay. Web-based stores, like Arryved Online, enable guests to submit their order and/or pay through their phone’s web browser, all while seated at their table.
Taking measures to make payment safe, secure, and sanitary is an opportunity to demonstrate your commitment to service (especially in this unpredictable time).
A laminated, fingerprint-smudged menu is a thing of the past. Alternatives could be analog, digital or a mix of both.
• Single Use Paper Menus. Ensure no cross-contamination among groups of guests.
• Digital Menus. Repurpose tasting room TVs to display digital menu boards like Arryved View. Your menu will be visible and accessible for everyone, and you can share that real-estate to highlight specials or promote events.
• QR Code. Generate a QR code that directs to the menu on your website and post it on tables, table tents, posters, etc. Guests scan the QR code with the built-in photo app on their phone and the menu opens in a browser. (Sounds complicated, but we swear it is very, very simple) .
Bonus: find a menu option that syncs with your backend inventory so that your menus update each time you kick or tap a keg!!
Simple ways to invest in the human element that makes guests feel welcome and cared for.
Image from Odd 13 Brewing Company
Whether it’s a familiar regular, or a future contagious loyalist, a quick conversation can provide key insight into what your guests are looking for and allow you to tailor their experience in simple ways! Especially now, consumers are selective about where and when they choose to go out—make their experience memorable.
• Is this their first time out since lockdowns began? If guests are venturing out for the first time, there’s sure to be some emotion attached to the experience. Are they celebrating something? Make them feel like part of the community by learning about them.
• What was their go-to drink during time at home? Whether they relied on to-go beer from a favorite brewery or they took up mixology as a side-hustle, take that intel to suggest their new favorite. You could even drop an unprompted taster of a selection they’re sure to enjoy! It’s a small touch that will cement your greatness and make your guests feel special.
• What measures by the establishment will ensure their safe return? These days, we are constantly calculating the risk inherent to different activities. When guests see that you’re taking health and safety seriously, they can feel assured and keep coming back!
Incentivize guests to return
Enhancing a guest’s experience, whether it’s through redeeming a loyalty reward or receiving a surprise taster from their server, is a great way to add value to a visit and keep them coming back.
• Loyalty Programs. Programs like Arryved Insider add value to repeat visits. Guests earn points and then redeem them for specific products, and taprooms can also send out special deals to loyalty members. Reward the most loyal fans with exclusive deals.
• Events. Many events that went virtual earlier in 2020 are coming back to tasting rooms. Let guests know that trivia is back on Tuesdays! Utilize a registration or signup system to lock in business for event nights.
Tasting room employees are experts in their field—empower them to educate guests on your menu. These conversations are great moments for your staff to share their knowledge while learning more about their clientele, too! Craft enthusiasts like to feel a part of their favorite places and creating a dialogue around what’s offered and what makes it unique fosters a sense of community.
When guests feel they have the inside scoop, they’re sure to keep coming back.
It’s not easy to have our smiling faces hidden when we’re all thirsty for a sense of connection. But there are still ways to connect with the guests we’ve missed while masked up and physically distant. And don’t forget your smize!