To those who may not be familiar with the role of a Budtender, the gig is often condescendingly paralleled with that of a barista or bartender. What makes budtending incredibly unique is just how dynamic the industry is. With product formats and varieties changing constantly, there is quite the learning curve that Budtenders have to adapt to in order to be successful and helpful at their job. The amount of knowledge acquisition a Budtender is required to seek out before being able to provide suitable recommendations is a constant - for this reason, we truly do believe that Budtenders play a crucial role as researchers in the industry.
First and foremost, who’s almost always on the ball when it comes to the newest, hottest items on the market? Budtenders, of course! You better believe that stock days are secretly cherished in stores for exactly this reason. With such great exposure to a constant supply of varying products, Budtenders are generally very excited to learn more about what's new and killing it in the game. Between spending hours on end reading reviews on Reddit, scouring provincial suppliers’ websites or talking about new products with colleagues, Budtenders are quite informed on new products.
It’s no surprise that while there’s a keen interest in learning about the newest drops, Budtenders, of course, want to see if the actual product can “walk the walk” by testing them out. Variety is very truly the spice of life in this industry - being able to have talking points on various products aids in finding the perfect product for consumers who request our suggestions. Having this knowledge really makes for quite a better experience in the community and helps build trust that grows between a customer and Budtender. In order to know what to recommend to patrons, it is increasingly important to be adventurous and try as many different SKU’s while fathoming product differentiation. By being open to trying various drops across the board, Budtenders are able to provide suggestions from a wide range of products for anyone of age.
As the eyes and ears of the cannabis industry, Budtenders are quite literally the only people taking in all the feedback the community has regarding products being sold in the recreational market. By being the ones who hear consumer feedback and opinions, we are given quite a bit of powerful insight into what the people want. For example: regulars - we love talking to them and recommending our favourite products to them as they often come back telling us their thoughts on what they just bought the next time they are in. This loop of feedback serves as a powerful engagement tool that can be applied directly to sales strategies across cannabis. As creatures of habit, people definitely come back and share their thoughts. This information patrons share with Budtenders, in turn, becomes even more valuable to brand reps and territory managers who are curious about how their product is doing on the shelves. Being the only ones who hear what the general public thinks about SKU’s, Budtenders hold a great deal of perspective on how the cannabis market is doing at any given time.
With this said, a standardized way of evaluating products has proven to be absolutely necessary. With the vast amount of opinions that the public has over cannabis products along with the Budtenders’ own personal knowledge and anecdotal experience, this conversation remained unheard for some time. BTA has worked towards bridging the gap and opening this line of communication so that the people get what they want and the LP’s become aware of these needs. With the help of our Tasting Program, BTA puts the spotlight on Budtenders. As the gatekeepers of the industry, Budtenders have valuable knowledge, research and information that populates and changes on a daily basis. It is for this reason the BTA has established our SKU Tasting Program as a way to standardize this research.