The next few months are going to be unprecedented. We don’t know exactly what will happen. Will people abide by the idea of social distancing or will they not be able to? We just don’t know. As a business owner it’s important to adjust and adapt with the times. Following on with our last post about Taproom And General Business Considerations For The Coronavirus Crisis, here are some more thoughts on business during a crisis.
We asked some marketing and PR executives for some ideas on how to handle a potential future where a brewpub or taproom sees it’s customer traffic drop due to the current crisis. Easy points to generate business during a downturn. The responses are impromptu and off the cuff, but authentically enthusiastic.
Beer To Go = Order Online + Drink At Home / Virtual Bar and Virtual Bar Visits / Virtual Tastings
“How about a #DFH (drink from home) promotion? (Twitter based) Get wasted with your friends on Zoom?
Companies that do online orders can give 20% off with the DFH2020 discount code.
A twitter account can tweet out discounts and public zoom links and start virtual “bars”. this in itself could be a “look how people are adapting” story in the press.”
And the idea of a virtual bar is an interesting one. Very low expense and the potential to make a lot of people feel more at ease. Got an old iPhone or iPad sitting around? Why not host virtual drinking sessions so people can join in from home. If a lock down lasts long enough your regulars will start to miss talking or just being out. Provide a Zoom / WebEx / Facebook Live video for them to peak in, talk to each other, and socialize.
This is great both as a scheduled thing — let’s all meet at 5pm on Friday, for example. And also as just a drop in anytime kind of thing.
Let Customers Know You Are Reacting / Beer Orders Online
“I’ve liked how several of the taproom/beer halls I follow on social have posted about their cleaning and health programs. Focus should change from “third place” to take out in the short term. Focus on pre-ordering crowlers/cans/bottles for easy pick up and minimal interaction. Fieldwork is good at this.”
To expand on that online ordering idea — a few locations I’ve looked into have added online ordering of beer for quick pickup. At least one has taken it further and created curbside pickup where a customer can order online, and present their order and ID and a brewery employee will load the beer into your trunk. Where legal, delivery by the usual delivery services might also be an option.
“Breweries and taprooms might want to start posting more human updates on their socials. “This is Cindy, she’s been with us for two years and is here to make sure you have access to fresh beer during this time,” etc.”
Getting personal is always great. When people know the real humans behind the bar they are more likely to support a business.
“Truth is all small breweries are gonna get nailed hard. Owners should talk to landlords/banks to negotiate pause in rent/payments for March and April.”
Good ideas to start the conversation with your landlord now, if you haven’t already.
Local restaurants, bars, pubs, delis, every indy business, have you thought about producing an online voucher so people can buy one? This isn’t an original idea but I want to amplify it, so share with me if you do!
DRINKERS/EATERS/HUMANS! Buy these vouchers #virusvoucher
— Melissa Cole (@MelissaCole) March 13, 2020
A great idea to raise a little cash in a time of need. Your POS system might support this idea. Square and Toast both do.
A way to tip hourly workers online, without going full blown GoFundMe is also a great idea.
Emphasize To-Go Orders Everywhere In Your Business
People will be eating out way less in the short term. But will get really bored with cooking at home. Food and beer delivery and pick up will be a great alternative.
For brewpubs and locations with kitchens. Think about coming up with family meals to go — look at your popular menu items and develop a to-go version for a family of 2 / 4 / 6 at a special price. Include a growler of house brewed as well for a special deal.
Mention your popular to go items on your social streams. Don’t be afraid to let people know you are still there and how they can get items to go.
Set up an email address / web site / phone number / text number that people can order beer growlers and food through — if you don’t use something like Grubhub. But be super responsive to that line of communication at all times — if you can’t be, set up an autoresponder with details.
And with anything during a pandemic, it’s great to refer back to your social media / blog post on cleaning procedures. See our forum for many examples.
You need to take the suggestions here into context of your business and your processes. These won’t work for everyone, it depends on your community. Not to mention your local laws. These are just suggestions to get the ball rolling. If you have other ideas, we are setting up a forum where we can all discuss what work, brainstorm new ideas, and just support each other during this crisis. It’s what the brewing community has always done, and we will continue to do so. Head on over to our forum and join in.