As the owner of a brewery, brewpub or taproom, you’ve invested heavily into your business. You’ve put you blood, sweat and tears into a project that you are incredibly passionate about. So wouldn’t you want what’s best for your business?
If there was a way you could get fair and honest feedback about your brewery and its service from an outside source would you accept it? That’s exactly the goal of Andrew Coplon, the founder of Secret Hopper, a mystery shopping company that focuses on helping craft breweries better understand and strengthen their customer’s experience.
“Having spent nearly 20 years in the food service and hospitality industry, I sought to combine my love of beer with my experience creating a great customer experience,” Coplon told The Brew Review. “Moreover, with over 5,000 craft breweries currently in the United States, we believe that breweries need to do more than just make a quality product to service in today’s marketplace. Emphasis must be placed on building an overall brand, and that brand begins within a brewery’s four walls.”
No matter if it’s a restaurant, bar or brewery, the overall service that a guest receives makes a lasting impression. No matter if you make the best steak or brew the greatest IPA, if your business is lacking in the service department you guests will go elsewhere.
The Secret Hopper service allows breweries to see their business from the other side of the bar, Coplon says.
“When a Secret Hopper visits a brewery they make observations on everything from the atmosphere (Ex: Was the walkway outside the business clean?) to the customer service (Ex: Did the bartender greet you with a smile and a hello?) to basic business techniques (Ex: Did the bartender ask you if you’d like beer to go?),” he said. “We believe from this data a brewery can increase their bottom line and fine tune their tasting room.”
As for the service itself, the cost to a brewery is reasonable for the feedback it receives in return. The basic service costs the brewery $40 per visit. Of that $40, $20 goes back into the brewery in the form of a Secret Hopper purchasing product. Prior to any visit, a brewery is allowed to hand pick the demographic of beer drinker they’d like to perform the assessment. Secret Hoppers can be selected based on age, gender and type of beer drinker they are. Coplon’s team will also create, in partnership with the brewery, a custom questionnaire for the Secret Hopper to complete following their visit.
Secret Hopper is based in Norfolk, Virginia, but currently operates in California, Colorado, Florida, Maryland, North Carolina, and Virginia, and the numbers of states continues to grow.
So far, Coplon says the reception to his business has been overwhelming.
“As you would expect, we have had no shortage of people applying to become Secret Hoppers,” he said. “After all, who wouldn’t want their hobby of drinking beer funded? We have also received great response from forward thinking breweries who understand the importance of outside and objective feedback to better understand their business.”
Coplon told The Brew Review his ultimate goal is to “build lasting relationships with breweries across America to help them strengthen their brand and make every customer that walks through their doors a repeat customer.”
Like we said earlier, who wouldn’t want to know how they can improve?
Interested in becoming a Secret Hopper or having your business Secret Hopped? Check out www.secrethopper.com for more information. You can also follow them on Facebook.