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Local Beer, Food, and Hospitality with Matt Reimold

With the hospitality industry across Pennsylvania particularly hard hit by the coronavirus lockdowns, many local restaurants, bars, brewers, and distillers found themselves needing to adjust. As Pennsylvania allowed more businesses to reopen their doors, those in the hospitality industry needed to pivot again. We chatted with Matt Reimold, Area Operations Manager with Victory Brewing Company, to learn what Matt and his colleagues have been doing in response to COVID-19.

Links

Notes

Pivoting to Online

  • Victory Brewing Company worked hard to find a way to keep as many staff as possible working and on the payroll. It did need to downsize somewhat by combining operations at a few of its locations.
  • Victory implemented an online ordering system for crowlers and other packaged goods.
  • It coordinated its new online ordering system with in-person pickup at its Downingtown and Parkesburg locations (where Victory staff placed the purchased items in the trunks of customers’ vehicles.)
  • To clear its inventory of kegged beer, Victory offered a sale on crowlers – selling a 32-oz. can of beer for $3.33. That sale was so successful that Victory sold 9 months worth of crowlers in 7 to 8 weeks! In fact, it sold out so quickly that the can manufacturer could not produce new, empty cans fast enough.
  • The success of the crowler sales enabled Victory to bring back some of its staff, getting them back working.

Surveying Customers about Wishes and Concerns

  • As lockdown orders came into place in Chester County, Victory Brewing Company surveyed its customers – to speak directly with its consumers – about their wishes, issues, and concerns about what re-opening taprooms might look like.
  • Victory shared the survey via its email distribution lists and social media outlets.
  • One of the co-founders of Victory Brewing Company, Bill Covaleski, was able to go on a local TV news outlet to talk about the survey.
  • That survey garnered about 7,500 responses, which gave the company lots of customer feedback and guidance about how their customers and community wanted to see Victory re-open its taprooms when it was safe to do so.

Preparing Taprooms to Welcome Customers and Staff

  • In the survey, Victory learned that customers were concerned about how other customers would respond to masks and social distancing.
  • Victory implemented a new reservation system to enable guests to be seated in a safe space at the appointed time.
  • Customers asked for regular and clear communication; Victory upped its own communication with its customers via social media, its website, and emails.
  • Victory’s clear communication has helped the company’s general managers and taproom teams communicate directly with customers.
  • Victory is following the CDC and Pennsylvania health guidelines. It has also brought in more teams focused specifically on keeping all areas of the taprooms clean.
  • There was a big request for outdoor seating – which Victory addressed in a major way at all of its taprooms.
  • Victory Brewing Company wanted to set the bar for customer safety – and installed an advanced air purification systems at all of its taprooms. (See the linked press release in the Notes section above.)
  • All the taprooms have been implemented with 7′ spacing, instead of the basic 6′ as required by health guidelines.

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