Techniques to Increase Your Guest Check Average

Data ​has ​shown over and over that pairing food is ​always an engaging ​topic ​when we​ as consumers​ are enjoying our beers. Julia Herz surmises, why not invest in that space?

Herz, formerly with the Brewers Association, spoke to brewery members​ during the Sell More Beer Virtual Conference this past fall and gave insights into ​how bundling items can help increase a guest check average.​ Even a $2 increase can generate a substantial revenue increase.

​Where can your taproom staff help make those increases? Herz mentioned creating bundling options and last-minute upsells at cash out.​

“Bundling is everywhere,” she noted. “From walking into Walgreens and seeing flip flops, with sunscreen, then bundled with clear plastic wrap and a towel. That is bundling. So pairing product bundling is exponential and you guys are all exposed to it. You guys are all influenced by it.

“I’ve been in this space of beer pairing for quite a while. And it’s not just sensory enjoyment, but it ties to sales, ties to increasing enhanced enjoyment and reward for beer purchasing.”

Herz said to take note of the many checks that are running through your establishment right now as a brewery. She did some basic math, using an example of 25,000 checks per year (which is less than 500 transactions per week) and an average amount of $13, which she said is fairly low-end as an example.

Treat Yourself

Finding ways to get each consumer to even add two dollars to their check can be an annual increase of $50,000. And it’s little things, like a bundle option, that can bump that total sale a tad.

“This is an obvious place to drill down into if you’re not,” she said, “and if you already are, have you looked at it recently? Have you talked about your guest check average, because that is tangible stuff to increase your bottom line.”

She said because of the pandemic, consumers are likely to “treat themselves” a tad more as well since they are getting out more than they have in the last year.

She used Clinch River Brewing in Tennessee as an example.

“When they do Instagram posts of what they’re pairing, they sell out, and they do preset amounts of meals,” she said. “They strategically tie it to a certain date and time and they are able then to put a dollar amount that they know in advance and people are going to come in and want to purchase. They’re doing the ‘treat up’ mentality.

“This is bundling at its finest and commonly increases their sales 10% on these evenings [versus] nights when they don’t do it.”

Upsell at Checkout

Another great example of bundling for to-go sales by the way could be pre-packaged foods to pair with six-packs.

“On your website, are you suggesting pairings of foods that you can also sell that go with your beers when people are buying six-packs, singles, whatever,” she asked. “Don’t forget about that opportunity on your website.”

“Or when people are … about to check out and close out their tab. Do you want to take to-go this food pre-packaged item with the beers you’re buying? And here’s why they go great together. Another great example of increasing your bottom line.”

Use Your Reviews

Herz said that Pagosa Brewing Company in Colorado and owner Tony Simmons shared with her the strategy that they took in looking at the guest check average and made a concerted effort in one year to increase it two dollars per check.

“To do that, one way they did it was they tapped into a comment from the Los Angeles Times, which I call guest check average gold,” she said. “The Los Angeles Times visited Pagosa and literally said ‘the best fish and chips I ever had.’ And boy, did they run with that.”

The brewery used that line in many iterations of marketing to help drive sales of its dish to success.

Photo courtesy Clinch River Brewing

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