Darian Everding manages London Underground, a craft beer and whisk(e)y bar in Ames, IA.
Like a lot of the industry, London Underground has seen an uptick in staff turnover in the last couple years, so they've spent a lot of time training new staff on the ins and outs of their extensive beer and whiskey selection.
Darian has found it's been helpful to break staff up into two levels, and has advice on how to train and educate each. Here are the takehomes:
If you're new to craft beer or spirits, working at a place that has a big program can be mortifying. This is especially common these days because of the huge turnover the industry saw during/after covid.
To help with this, Darian has a list of "Level 1" facts. These are things that don't require any real knowledge of beer or spirits, but which can make servers and bartenders more confident and thus make guests more likely to trust them.
Here are a few examples Darian uses:
If you equip staff with even just some of those tricks, they're already in much better shape to get guests trusting them.
During our call Darian took a long pause and said this: "Investing in your staff is the number one way to get an ROI, hands down."
This is so important because if you invest in your staff, they become invested in your bar program and are way more likely to effectively sell your products. And investing doesn't have to mean spending more $.
Here are some of the ways London Underground invests in staff:
Check out the interview video for more detail from Darian about staff training and education:Watch interview
Last week Morning Consult, a well-known survey firm, released a poll it conducted about Dry January. Here's the important data:
Even though overall participation is said to be lower this year, those who participate are committing to it more, so you might actually see a bigger drop in sales this year than last. And given their predilection for crafty beverages, the fact that Millenials are the most likely age group to participate spells trouble for craft-focused bars and restaurants.
The good news? January's about 2/3 complete, so we'll hopefully be back to regular programming soon.