That’s according to the Wine & Spirit Education Trust’s (WSET) business development director Graham Cox, who hinted to delegates at the Future Trends: Spirits event last week (3 October) that the results of exclusive research into spirits training in the on-trade were promising.
While the data from the on-trade study was still being analysed, a past experiment with off-trade spirits training showed how investing more in staff education can increase sales.
Cox said: “Commercial training is important and staff understanding products is key to them performing better.”
‘Won’t see the benefits’
"While the results are still being analysed from the current on-trade experiment, what we saw in the off-trade experiment was group one increased profits by £7,346, group two by £4,309 and group three by just £746."
He continued: “Many think training is expensive and they won’t see the benefits of it in their businesses, but we have shown it is cost-neutral over a period of time.”
The on-trade spirits training research had been conducted by the WSET with William Grant & Sons and Living Ventures, using a similar method as the off-trade spirits training experiment, he added.
Staff across the on-trade group received various levels of training including in-house from Living Ventures, brand training from William Grant & Sons and WSET training.
Group one was trained by the WSET, had in-house training from Living Ventures and brand training from William Grant & Sons; group two received WSET training and in-house training; and group three received training from Living Ventures only.
Cox said: “While the results are still being analysed from the current on-trade experiment, what we saw in the off-trade experiment was group one increased profits by £7,346, group two by £4,309 and group three by just £746.
“Fully trained staff are capable of up-selling if you give them the right knowledge and after training they increased bottle sales. It’s not scientific, but the empirical data in the off-trade training showed group three did improve sales dramatically.”
Commercial training is important in a sector that needs to work very hard to increase profits year on year, he added.
Giving bar staff broader training would make them more confident and give them the ability to perform better in their jobs.
However, some businesses may be concerned with the cost that training staff with the WSET would incur. Cox added: “We actually found that it was cost-neutral in the off-trade experiment and that it is also very useful to customers.”
The Future Trends: Spirits event was organised by The Morning Advertiser and sponsored by headline partners Diageo and Schweppes; associate partners Pernod Ricard UK and the Wine and Spirit Education Trust; and bar partners Warner Edwards, Masons Yorkshire Gin, Slingsby Artisan Gin, the City of London Distillery and Willis Publicity.