Craft Beer Training for Your Staff

Craft beer training sessions are one of the best ways to boost craft beer orders at your bar. Education is essential to empowering your staff to inform and up-sell your guests. Since you can’t be everywhere at once (though, trust us, if we could build technology to fix that, we would), your staff needs to be the go-to expert on the menu items you offer. Whether or not your staff considers themselves craft beer fans, there are ways to get your staff involved and interested. The following are some quick tips and tricks to get everyone on board and increase your revenue.

Keep Your Beer Training Simple

One thing every craft beer training program advises is to keep things simple. With thousands of craft beers on the market, no single person can know the taste and aroma of each one. When training your staff, emphasize general product knowledge. This should include the different styles you offer, the sizes and a brief history of each major beer style. Once they are familiar with the basic styles, it will also be easier for your staff to recommend food pairings.

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Explain to them the difference between ales and lagers, darks and lights, and make sure they have a good recited description on hand for every craft beer you offer.

The Four P’s of Craft Beer

All staff should be familiar with the “Four P’s” when serving craft beer: portion, preparation, presentation, and price.

  • Portion – Knowing what sizes are offered is the first step towards mastering a craft beer menu. Servers should always be suggesting the larger sizes, while naturally describing the beer and making it sound irresistible.
  • Preparation – Staff should be knowledgeable about the basic flavors of each craft beer and should be able to describe how each is made and where it was brewed.
  • Presentation – What color is the beer? How is it poured? What is its optimal temperature? If the beer has a garnish, the staff should be aware of what that is, as most are meant to enhance the flavor of the beverage.
  • Price – Somewhat of a no-brainer, this is craft beer knowledge 101. A customer can’t buy something if they don’t know the price, and many menus don’t always display them, as they can change quickly. Software like Evergreen can help ensure that prices are up-to-the-minute and items are accurate.

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Hacking the Details

Even the best staff can forget what they know when things get busy. Evergreen’s database of 300,000+ beers, wines and spirits lets staff instantly look up crucial drink details. The database’s categorization of beer styles can be a powerful training and studying tool for motivated staff. Many Evergreen customers use Evergreen’s print menu feature to print a “cheat sheet” version of the current beer menu. This cheat sheet pulls all available details from the database for easy reference. This allows you to have simple, easy-to-digest menus for customers while also providing staff with everything they need to know about the beers on rotation if a customer has a question. This is particularly useful for menus that rotate often. With this tool, a server can instantly get up to speed on the new beers you offer even if the menu changed since their last shift.

Another craft beer training hack is to buy or print a large poster for your visual learners. There are several printable posters for free online that display pictures of different craft beers with a brief explanation of each. A large visual posted in the back of the house can provide a time-saving reference for servers who are new to the complexity of craft beer.

Craft beer is served very differently than many other beverages. Todays’ consumers are more educated than ever before about beer styles and flavors and that means their questions are getting more and more specific. The more informed a server is, the more confident they will be and the more they will sell. A knowledgeable staff member will quickly see how even basic craft beer knowledge can increase their tips. And you will quickly see how an investment in craft beer training can increase your revenue.

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