Can your restaurant have too many taps?
“Instead of us, from a home office perspective, demanding what these 40 faucets are, each of our restaurants will be looking to establish partnerships that will likely take 18 to 22 of those faucets,” says Jay Spungin, director. operations and beverages at Mac’s Speed. Shop.
Half of Mac’s locations are concentrated in the Charlotte, NC area, but even these stores keep their own separate listings. “The difference we see in the style of a 20 mile difference in our own neighborhood is pretty amazing,” adds Spungin.
Corporate has partnerships with larger distributors to ensure that a core set of beers appears on the Mac system. But beyond that, the company encourages its operators to seek relationships with smaller breweries. By incorporating hyper-localized elements and trends into restaurants, individual stores create their own microclimates and behave more like an independent local business.
“One of the things that attracts me about small businesses is that they can really focus on keeping as much money as possible in their community,” says Spungin. “Working with local breweries in Charlotte, working with local breweries in Greenville, working with local breweries in Wilmington and Greensboro is definitely a priority for us. We love to be part of the communities in which we are.
This special touch can be diluted when a restaurant offers a large number of beers. The higher the number of faucets, the less likely staff are to have a good understanding of the entire collection. It is also a gap that the consumer is likely to notice.
“I can always tell when there’s a real person in the community making the purchase,” Yaeger says. He adds that this is especially true for channels that could easily fall into a fixed drink playlist. “Restaurants that give their customers credit for choosing wisely will be rewarded,” he says.
Smaller beer programs are also more nimble by nature and can more easily accommodate customer feedback. Spungin, whose professional experience includes curating wine lists, has long advised beverage managers to set aside their own personal preferences in favor of what regulars order and what managers observe.
Beyond gaining customers through more thoughtful selection, fewer drafts also ultimately save restaurants money because, as Spungin says, the restaurant isn’t sitting on so many products. . Mac’s won’t take a maximalist approach to its faucet program, because despite the brand’s mantra of “beers, bikes and barbecue”, food is the # 1 priority.
“We’re first and foremost a restaurant, but a lot of people also associate us with the drink we offer, and we love that. It’s a big part of our platform, ”Spungin said. “I think Yard House sells beer first and then food; World of Beer sells beer first, then they cook small plates – it’s a long time after for them.
Yaeger says concepts like Yard House and World of Beer definitely have their place on the F&B scene, but he cautions that such ventures should be seen as the exception, not the rule. In classic restaurants, customers are likely to be overwhelmed by the sheer number of choices. It is also difficult for these restaurants to keep so many barrels and move the products quickly.
When these conditions are not met, it has a bad impact on the beer and, in turn, on the restaurant that serves it.
“Unless your business is focused on those 100+ taps and has the premium draft system to keep those beers cold, clean, and sell out fast, having too many beers available hurts everyone,” says Yaeger. “Just as there may be a few burger options or even a dozen, the beer list should be as manageable as the rest of the menu.”