Trial by chardonnay! Did your teams pass…?
By Dan Bignold
May 6th, 2021
Or, did an angry guest vow never to come back again because staff couldn't meet customer service expectations with some simple wine knowledge?

Imagine this situation in your venue:

  1. You’ve got three chardonnays on your by-the-glass menu and half the team don’t know which one is oaked.
  2. Those same staff have picked up a nasty habit, which sounds like this: “I’m not sure, I’ll just go and check with the manager.”
  3. Guest, unimpressed and kept thirsty for an extra five minutes (while the manager gets pulled away from something far more important), decides next time they’ll head somewhere else.

If you think this is an exaggeration, consider that guests are getting more and more knowledgeable about their drinks, and simply hate paying money to be served by someone who knows less than they do.

Even if they don’t know a lot, with chardonnay, they know whether they like it oaked or not. The same goes for IPA. A guest might not know about attenuation levels and specific gravity, but they probably know whether they like West Coast style IPA or traditional British. So your floor staff better know which style the IPA on your menu is, too (and how it tastes).

The solution is product training from Small Batch Learning – not product training that happens once a month, if the brand rep is free, and when five of the team can’t make it anyway since it’s their day off. That kind of training, if it happens at all, soon gets forgotten.

Instead, Small Batch Learning’s product training is online and can be accessed by your team from their smartphone, anytime and anywhere. It’s also delivered using bite-sized info (and not just on those three chardonnays, but on any of your stocked SKUs), so the knowledge sticks, and managers can put a stop to wasted revenue opportunities.

Why? Bar training that explains in academic detail different whisky distillations, and how they’re applied in blends, single malt or bourbon – or re-tells the history of Gin Lane (again) – works just fine for geeking out in a masterclass. But during service?

While some level of category knowledge is essential, what the majority of staff need to successfully recommend, cross-sell or upsell to the majority of guests is relevant, customer-focused selling points that are easy to remember. Riffing on the history of spirits can be fun, but only with the right type of customer, and not when other guests are waiting to order.

By focusing on quick category and origin details, plus clear tasting notes and concise production details (that are relevant to the liquid’s taste), product training on Small Batch Learning achieves a simple objective: help staff understand menus better, so they become more confident selling your products.

Small Batch Learning product training is housed on a purpose-built learning management system, which supplies managers with learning data so they can track staff progress and make sure all assigned training is being done.

This learning management system can also be used for much more than product training. Any venue is able to set up their own platform and train teams on all facets of their job – either by uploading their own training courses or using ours. The Small Batch Learning training library features around 30 hours of courses, including:

  • Beverage category knowledge
  • Beverage tasting
  • Service skills (floor and bar)
  • Upselling & maximising revenue
  • Mental & physical health (in partnership with Healthy Hospo)

If you don’t already have any digital learning provision for staff, getting set up with your own learning platform is therefore easy – and great for onboarding new employees or achieving consistency among existing teams. No more scurrying away to ask the manager when a guest asks if the chardonnay is oaked, in other words.

To find out more about using Small Batch Learning for your business, get in touch here.