Don’t Reinvent the Wheel for Taproom Service

Your brewery isn’t the first place to serve beer. Don’t try to reinvent the wheel when it comes to determining a service model, points out Pepin Young, the Taproom Manager for Bent Paddle Brewing.

When the Duluth, Minnesota brewery expanded from its original location to a much larger taproom area — including 60 draft lines on three sides of a larger bar area for upward of 500 people on a packed night — utilizing the triangles of service was a tried and true model that works.

“We knew that the heart of the taproom, which is the bar, the cooler, and the systems that need to operate at the highest level,” Young said. “So the goal for us was three triangles of service where you could have up to three people working in one triangle, and then have three of those, so up to nine total people are behind the bar and none of those people are able to bump into each other in a sense. They’re working in fluid movement.”

The triangle has somebody who’s face forward and helping the guests, another person who’s moving behind along with somebody else who’s coming through to run the register.

“All of these people are doing the same thing,” Young said, “but they’re able to move in a triangle, and be very effective with minimal steps.”

This helps put beer close to beertenders and be able to service guests very quickly, even in a high-pressure situation.

READ MORE: Taproom Staff: Know-How & Service

“A big piece of being successful in this industry is being able to do more with less and it doesn’t affect what the vibe is and what the feel of the taproom is,” Young said. “We always wanted to continue to utilize bar service versus table service. To this day, we have not initiated table service, even though we have the ability to do so through our POS system.

“We just have not had the need and lines move really quickly.”

Your bar, he added, has to be able to grow and shrink with business.

“You don’t want it to feel like if there’s 20 people there that it’s a giant hall and empty,” he said, adding that was the other thing that the Bent Paddle staff looked at when they were creating the new space was to close down certain areas with soft curtains or other things like that.

“If you have a Tuesday night and it’s quiet … it feels comfortable versus empty,” he said. “So it’s about preparing for all the moments.”

Photo courtesy Bent Paddle Brewing

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