These Tips Can Lead to a Happy, Successful Brewpub Taproom

Running a 64-seat brewpub in the Columbus, Ohio area, Lineage Brewing co-founder Mike Byrne said although he prefers to have a smaller crew than most places, it can lead to a better working environment.

He shared his insights with members of the Ohio Craft Brewers Association at its recent yearly meeting in Dayton, Ohio.

Byrne said there are three focuses for the taproom, and that is environment, staff, and customer service.

The way your brewery’s taproom looks and feels throughout the day can cater to different clientele.

“Things like lighting changes throughout the day. Your lights aren’t glaring at the same light temperature at midnight as they are four o’clock in the afternoon,” he explained. “Music volume changes, the music you play can change depending on your clientele in there.

“All that stuff matters. We try to create the place that we want to be that we love, and we’re proud of.”

Keeping employees proud of who they are, and what they do is vital as well.

“We do staff very small. I think that it creates a really close-knit staffing culture,” Byrne said. “It shows that I can step in, [fellow owner] Carey [Hall] or our General Manager can step in. We also expect everyone to do a little bit more.”

Lineage has a policy in place called ‘Hands Full.’

“We have two people that work in the kitchen. And they also expedite the food,” Byrne explained. “The expectation is when they walk out into the taproom, they are to come back with something, dishes, glassware, napkins … anything.

“Just always have your hands full and always be helping the other person in the taproom.”

That means communication is vital.

“I can’t always be there 24 hours a day as much as I try to be or used to be,” Byrne quipped. “We adopted Slack so Carey or I can communicate and leave messages to the employees. They can leave messages to us.”

It’s also great for maintenance issues that may arise overnight that might not be an emergency. Byrne used an ice maker that may be faulty as an example. Instead of leaving a note for someone to possibly see when they get to the brewpub, the entire staff is notified quickly overnight.

“We treat — as owners — the staff as we want to be treated like the staff’s expected to treat customers,” Byrne said. That includes health care for full-time employees, and Byrne said they try to support employees with their outside ventures.

“If they have other ambitions in life, I want to help them get to the next step and raise a culture where people want to work, and that attitude goes to the customers.

“I think that excitement goes both ways.”

Customer service is No. 1, he added.

“You have to treat people the way you want to be treated, and they have to have an awesome experience every time they come in,” Byrne said. “If staff can’t adapt to that idea. That staff member can’t work at Lineage. They have to go out of their way to make sure that their customers are happy.”

Photo courtesy Lineage Brewing

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.