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Ask any licensee what the benefit of doing regular staff training is and you’ll get a range of answers: guest satisfaction, a motivated team, staff retention, and better brand quality. But staff training is not just about the feel good factor. Investing in training has a massive commercial impact, by reducing wastage, improving yield and increasing sales.

This has clearly been demonstrated by the findings of the Beer Quality Report 2017 a joint initiative between Cask Marque and Vianet.

The report calculated the industry is losing out on a staggering £709 million in lost profit because of sub-standard draught beer quality. This equates to 5.8% of total on-trade beer sales in the UK.

Yet, many of the quality issues raised can be resolved just through better knowledge and more time spent on training.

If we break this figure down further, just one individual pub can be missing out on an average of over £14,600 per year in profit through inadequate beer quality management

The figures come from a combination of waste, missed till yield, over-ranging and low throughputs, alongside equipment and cellar maintenance failings and lost sales, through reduced visits and repeat purchase.

The report shows that many retailers have not acted on improving beer quality following last year’s report, with the same proportion of beer served too warm. On the critical issue of line cleaning, this year’s report shows that, according to Vianet Business Insight research, one in three pints served to a UK consumer is via a line overdue a clean – again the same proportion as last year.

Cask Marque audits reveal that, based on visual inspection, only 72% of beer lines are perfectly clean, with the remainder of pubs failing to keep adequate records and exhibiting visible yeast build up.

The report finds that the average annual difference in beer volumes of pubs that serve almost all beer via clean lines (between 90-100% of beer) and those that serve less than half (40-50%) via clean lines is 63 barrels. This equates to 18,144 pints over the course of a year – and is worth approximately £63,500 at a retail selling price of £3.50 per pint.

Assuming a gross profit margin of 50%, that’s still worth almost £32,000 per year to the operator, a significant profit opportunity.

Steven Alton, managing director of Vianet, said: “The message is good operators could have better businesses by driving up retail standards and, in turn, help safeguard the future of the category and keep pubs attractive to consumers. Draught beer remains in value growth and beer still accounts for about seven in 10 drinks sold in pubs. However, the findings in our report provide a much-needed reality check and demonstrate the category’s continued health could be threatened by quality failings.”

Paul Nunny, director of Cask Marque, added: “Cask Marque has spent nearly 20 years banging the drum about beer quality and still the message is not getting through. This is a damning report on the quality offer to consumers. Findings from our own recent research showed that 49% of pubs are not meeting Cask Marque standards. Thank goodness nearly 10,000 pubs can! It remains vital for the future of the category that we don’t disappoint customers when it comes to serving a perfect pint, every time.”

Other key findings:

One in four pubs had a major temperature issue last year, resulting in 6% of all pints served too warm – equivalent to 208 million pub pints

Too many beer taps on Britain’s bars – with pubs over ranging by an average three pumps

Six in 10 taps are dispensing less than 88 pints per week

At a time when profitability is under unprecedented pressure for publicans, just changing a few habits, behaviours and practices can make a compelling difference to bottom line profit.

To find out more about our training courses, please visit our training page.