Master Beer Sommelier Mark Stroobandt believes restaurants across the UK ‘aren’t giving beer the respect it deserves’ and has given his top tips of beer and food matching to increase a business's footfall.
Speaking at Restaurant magazine’s R200 Awards on Wednesday, Stroobandt, who currently works for the F&B partnership, stated that beer can be a sales driver and that all a restaurant has to do is talk about it.
“For a lot of restaurants, beer is paying the bills but it is being taken for granted,” he said. “Beer stimulates the appetite and this is where potential lies for everyone. It can drive your food sales and even your wine sales – all you have to do is start telling your customers about it.
- “It’s simple: there are no rules, anything goes. There are so many beers around, but the key thing is to enhance your customers’ experience.
- “Don’t overpower the food with beer or vice versa. One thing beer has above wine is its refreshment. It can cleanse your pallet, which wine struggles to achieve. So beer must add to your dish.
- “Think of it as a condiment, that little dressing on the side. Generally, Indian food works with Indian beer and English food works with English beer. But English beer can also wiork with exotic food and vice versa.
- “It’s also about the ingredients. Beer that has coriander in generally goes well with Indian and Thai food.
Talk about it
Belgian-born Stroobandt went on to state that the first rule of food and beer matching is ‘talking about it.’
He added: “I will tell you what the most powerful and effective sales technique in the world is: ‘would you like to have one?’ It’s not rocket science. A stat from a recent report I read said that 89 per cent of consumers will buy based on personal recommendations. But the flip side was that only eight per cent of them were ever given one. So you see where the problems lie.
Hotels like Malmaison and Hotel du Vin will provide customers with beer options while they are waiting for their table. That’s clever operating – and they sell a lot of beer.
“We are all starting to have problems with footfall. If we do not start delivering new experiences – and beer can do just that – customers will go somewhere else.”