Staff that undergo spirits training can help boost premium sales by as much as 16.9%, according to a study by the Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) with Living Ventures and William Grant & Sons.
The trio set out to measure the impact of WSET Level 2 Award in Spirits training, by monitoring the sales performance of customer-facing UK on-trade workers. Thirty Living Ventures employees from 10 branches were involved in the study; two employees from each branch received training from WSET approved programme provider William Grant & Sons, while one employee from each branch was selected for the control group.
The trained group increased its premium sales share by an average of 4.9%, while the control group experienced a drop of 10%. However, the companies said that could be attributed to seasonal changes. Overall, it equates to trained staff outperforming the control group by 16.9% in the after-training period.
‘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,’ Graham Cox, WSET UK business development director, said.
‘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’ products the better they will perform.’
Henry John, senior category and customer marketing manager for the on-trade, William Grant & Sons UK, added: ‘Whilst the bar teams benefited from the investment of education and personal development, it has delivered tangible benefits for Living Ventures with significant uplifts in 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.’