The WSET, in conjunction with bar operator Living Ventures and premium spirits supplier William Grant & Sons, recently conducted research to learn if detailed training could boost sales.
Some 30 Living Ventures employees were chosen to take part in the study. Two staff from each site received WSET Level 2 training from William Grant & Sons, and one control employee had no training.
Sales data was analysed and showed the trained group increased premium sales by an average of 4.9%, while the control group’s sales dipped by 10%. However, the dramatic dip could be attributed to seasonal changes, the WSET conceded.
“Combining these figures shows that the trained group outperformed the control group by 16.9% in the after-training period,” said the training provider.
To assess the impact of the training on volume, the total sales volumes for spirits was split into figures for house spirits and premium spirits using a list of the house pours stocked by Living Ventures.
The unit sales were volume-adjusted to represent a single serve at a time, said WSET. The premium shares for the before and after data sets were calculated, and then checked for a gain or decrease for each employee.
William Grant & Sons senior category and customer marketing manager Henry John said: “While the bar teams benefited from the investment of education and personal development, it has delivered tangible benefits for Living Ventures."
‘Sales of rum and Tequila’
John continued: “There have been significant uplifts in the sales of the rum and Tequila categories, demonstrating the confidence that the bar teams now have with navigating consumers around these categories, encouraging consumers to trade up through the range.”
WSET business development director Graham Cox said: “Commercial training for staff working in the on-trade drinks sector is becoming increasingly important, particularly as it is a sector that needs to work very hard to maintain competitive advantage and to increase profits year on year.
“Many think training is an expensive cost and they won’t see the benefits of it in their business but the more staff understand a business’s products, the better they will perform.”