We recently fielded a survey to 743 of our customers who had purchased from us in the last 3 months. Because of the timing of the survey, many of these are active “to-go” purchasers. The results were interesting enough to share, and we hope they can be helpful to others in the industry.
Monday Night Brewing fielded an online survey on 4/23/20 to customers who had visited their Atlanta taprooms in the past 3 months. Over 740 responded, answering questions about their expectations of taproom sanitation practices and changes to their expected visitation behavior. While this survey was fielded to Monday Night customers, the questions were not written in a way specific to Monday Night.
Most people do not expect to visit a taproom in the next month. Almost 75% of respondents do not think they will be back to a brewery taproom until June at the earliest. In fact, 35% of respondents do not think they will be back to a brewery taproom until July or later.
Breweries in Georgia were allowed to open in late April, but it is clear that customers aren’t yet ready to jump in with both feet. Amongst consumers who visit taprooms 1+ times per month (prior to COVID-19), only 36% say they will definitely visit a brewery/taproom in the first 2 weeks after bars, restaurants, and brewery taprooms start opening again.
While taproom visitors have some trepidation about the immediate future, they are cautiously optimistic about medium-term. 61% of respondents expect their visitation frequency (vs. their reported frequency pre-COVID-19) to go back to normal within 3 months. Still–28% of respondents expect a decline in their brewery visit frequency lasting at least 3 months.
People are looking to the CDC and WHO over their local, state, and federal governments for guidance on when it is safe to start visiting on-premise establishments and breweries again. In fact, respondents ranked “other establishments I respect” as more important indicators of safety than any level of government.
We asked people to rank the most important safety measures a taproom could put into place, by choosing their top four. Results indicated that beyond obvious measures (such as regular sanitation and reduced capacity), people are interested in contactless payment methods and masks and gloves worn by staff. Temperature checks were the least important to customers, and many shared in their “comments” section that temperature checks would not catch asymptomatic carriers.
We also asked about anticipated ongoing usage of current to-go sales programs. Monday Night has implemented a‘Contactless’ Drive-Thru for to-go purchases, and we wanted to see if customers would use such a service moving forward. According to respondents, to-go sales will likely remain strong in the near term even after taprooms open; ~70% of those who have purchased to-go during the pandemic plan to continue to do so at least once a month after breweries open.
In summary, people do not expect brewery taprooms to be anything close to “business as usual” for a while. Even in the 3 months after restaurants, bars, and breweries start opening up, we should expect lower attendance levels – in part due to social distancing regulations, but also in part due to consumer sentiment. Additional safety measures and continued services such as to-go programs will also be key components of expected brewery service for the foreseeable future.