What’s The Deal With The Corn Nuts?

What’s the deal with the corn nuts?

corn nuts picture

Back when I was in high school, Conan O’Brien released a sketch where they were casting a replacement for Jerry Seinfeld. 

You can watch it here.

Done wiping your tears?

Why are breweries quickly shifting to a brewpub model?

The pandemic has accelerated this, but even before the madness, breweries with a permanent food program had a leg up on taprooms, they just didn’t know it.  

Breweries with a food program sell, on average, 30% more beer than standalone taprooms.

If your average check size is $15 per customer, you can expect that to increase up to $20, BEFORE you add in food. 

Do my numbers sound a bit aggressive?

Outside of Jonesboro, AR, they’re not. They actually err on the side of conservative. 

La Resistance

“Everyone must eat, no one has to drink.”  

I blurted that out sometime in 2015, and it has remained a cornerstone in my house. 

While the pandemic has forced some of you into a permanent food program, some are still resisting it. 

The stuff I hear:

“I don’t ever want to run a restaurant”

“I heard running a restaurant is hard as hell”

“Nope, I only serve beer”

Go back and re-read those self serving statements one more time please. 

I don’t really care what you want. This should not be about “I” as much as it should be about what the customer wants. 

The mindset shift from “I” to “the customer” is a huge one. Because at the end of the day, we are here to serve our customers. 

It’s easy for me to stand on the outside and mock unreasonable people, but I am doing it with the utmost care for your business.

Yes, running a full kitchen is hard as hell, but so is running a brewery. It takes a special person to look a line cook straight in the face and tell them to remove that fucking dumbbell out of their lip while they are working.

I think there is an equal mindset shift when you commit to opening a kitchen. Some owners tip toe around this concept to not ruffle opposing feathers. Opening a kitchen should be done with intention and excitement. 

Read The Room 

Everyones on board. Now it’s time to develop the concept, repurpose the space, find the funds… all the fun stuff.

I’m no restaurant consultant, but I can tell you what has been really successful for our brewpub customers. 

Pub fare, tacos, pizza, killer sandwiches. 

Simple. Executable. Food.

Beer is your first love and should remain the centerpiece of the business. Think about food that can accompany your first love without breaking the bank. 

In fact, when the concept focuses on comfort food traditionally enjoyed with beer, the stars align. 

Once you nail the base delivery, then you can elevate. So think about it like this. You open a pizza kitchen and start by offering six traditional 10’ pizza’s. Once you’ve nailed down the dough recipe, kitchen prep, ticket times, online ordering, NOW it’s time to start experimenting with cool and innovative pizza’s. 

Keep it simple to start, trust me on this one. 

The Numbers

Kitchens can sink businesses…ufft.

Over the past decade we have had the unfortunate opportunity to work with two brewpubs where the kitchen, single handedly, sunk the whole business. The details aren’t important, other than they both did the exact opposite of 

what I described above. 

One of the joys of a brewery expanding into a kitchen is, you have a built in customer base from day 1. 

Out of the gate, I typically see a 70/30 (beer/food) sales split. This is a good start. Over time, a goal of mine would be to achieve 50/50 (beer/food) sales split. This tells me all cylinders are firing. I have some theories as to what is happening when one side of the equation starts to lead or lag, but I will save that for another post. 

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