Downturn brings quality focus


Rising consumer expectations leading bars to prioritise product delivery

OPERATORS are under even more pressure to serve high quality beer as consumers keep a tight rein on spending but demand higher standards.
Suppliers of dispense systems contacted by SLTN last week said the economic downturn has raised people’s expectations, with consumers even more reluctant to pay for an inferior pint.

The recession has made the trade more determined to serve top quality drinks.

“The recession has definitely improved the customer experience, including in the area of draught products,” said Steve Alton, commercial director of iDraught, which supplies an automated dispense-management system for pubs.
“It has made the trade more determined to serve top quality drinks consistently.
“There are just too many alternative ways that people can spend their money these days, not least of all in supermarket aisles, and they won’t tolerate a poor experience.”
However, it’s not just consumers that are keeping a closer eye on their money in these tougher times.
Hance McGhie, managing director of CellarBright, which supplies an automated beer line cleaner, said operators are collectively flushing thousands of pounds-worth of profit down the drain every year through poor cellar management and staff training.
“Staff training is an issue in all aspects of cellar/bar management, simple things such as pouring the perfect pint without over-pour, clean glasses and of course clean beer lines,” he explained.
“The technology is here and affordable. Publicans need to seriously look at this type of system, as technology does move on with outstanding results.”
McGhie acknowledged that investing in order to save money can be seen as a “catch 22”, but insisted it is worth it in the long run. Alton also argued that it is crucial publicans invest in quality dispense equipment.
“If the equipment isn’t right or if it isn’t managed properly, it can lead to product quality issues, and therefore drinks will be rejected by customers, giving rise to potentially damaging reputation issues, or it can lead to fobbing or wastage, impacting yields and profit margins,” he added.