Well-trained staff can deliver low/no message

By Emily Hawkins contact

- Last updated on GMT

Do the maths: Robyn Simms and Ed Taylor of Square Root
Do the maths: Robyn Simms and Ed Taylor of Square Root

Related tags: Soft drinks

The essential ingredient for a strong low-and-no alcohol drinks offering is staff training, the founder of a soda company has said.

Square Root co-founder Robyn Simms told The Morning Advertiser​ she had experienced bar staff who did not have any knowledge on a venue’s low-and-no alcohol options. 

She said: “Staff training is always key here. I can’t count the number of times someone behind has bar hasn’t had a clue about which non-alcoholic options they have or has asked me why I would bother drinking an alcohol-free beer or made sure I really would like just a tonic water.

“But I can count the number of times I’ve been back to those places – zero.”

“Well-trained staff who know a little bit about the products and serve them with care and attention always leaves a great lasting impression that really makes you want to come back.”

The company – founded by Simms and brewer Ed Taylor – moved to a new east London factory with increased capacity earlier this year. 

More options, more money

Pubs can stand to increase their profits by paying attention to their teetotal and “sober curious” customers’ needs, Simms said.

She said: “The benefits of stocking interesting low/no alcohol drinks is simple – non drinkers are more likely to linger for longer and spend more money in your venue. 

Teetotal pubgoers want to be treated like adults, Robyn Simms said
Teetotal pubgoers want to be treated like adults, Robyn Simms said

“They’re also more likely to spend more while they’re there – if all you offer is lime and soda for £1.50, that’s all people will buy. 

Simms used the example of her company’s non-alcoholic gin & tonic, which has an RRP of £4.50.

“That’s you taking £3 more each time someone purchases a drink,” she said.

Pubgoers who do not drink should not be made to feel infantilised when ordering at the bar, Simms went on to say.

Evolution of taste

She said: “As someone who doesn’t drink alcohol, I have to say that the main thing I look for is something interesting to have when I’m in a pub. 

“I’m an adult and I want a drink that makes me feel like an adult when I’m out rather than some sugar-laden fruit juice served in a bottle. 

“People’s tastes have evolved and the drinks you stock should evolve with them.

"That’s what we set out to do with Square Root: to create more interesting flavours with lower sugar so you can enjoy more than one on a night out.”

Square Root’s soda range includes cucumber, elderflower and blackcurrant, in addition to flavoured lemonades and a non-alcoholic gin and tonic. 

Related topics: Soft & Hot Drinks

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