The best food flavour suppliers know that your restaurant’s customers want exciting and versatile dishes and beverages with interesting combinations of natural ingredients. Paying attention to these industry trends is crucial if you are going to stay ahead of the game.
To help you create a successful drink collection, read on to learn how you can improve your restaurant’s beverage menu.
1. Supply what the customers are demanding.
The most effective way to improve your restaurant’s beverage menu is to make sure that you know what your customers are demanding and then supply them with that. It’s the simplest course for increasing sales, but it is essential in making your beverage menu stand out from the competition.
Of course, to do this, you have to understand your clientele because your beverage menu must cater to them. A beverage menu is going to look different depending on whether you usually have college students coming in for happy hour, professionals for work meetings or couples for luxury date nights.
Collecting and analysing the appropriate data will help you to determine which products and beverages are selling the best ones and which categories you should be expanding or shrinking. Once you have the hard numbers, you will be better positioned to make decisions about the number of options, price points, and where to strategically place different beverage options on the physical menu.
2. Offer seasonal and speciality beverages.
In addition to your tried and tested classics, you also want to keep your beverage menu exciting by offering seasonal drinks and speciality pairings. Patrons enjoy beverage menus that prioritise seasonal ingredients as they help to make drinks more “fresh.” Plus, most people like to drink seasonally, as there is something extra pleasurable about consuming a beverage designed specifically for that time of year.
For example, in the summer, your seasonal drinks may include ingredients such as citrus, mint, and watermelon while cinnamon, cider, and allspice bring a winter twist to cocktails. In some cases, you may simply want to update some of your current recipes by exchanging a couple of ingredients to make them more seasonally appropriate. Alternatively, you may want to work with a beverage flavour supplier to design new drinks that can be your restaurant’s signature cocktails.
Whatever strategy you opt to take, remember that people like to try different things, and the fact that you are including temporary beverages on your menu will help encourage patrons to “try it before it’s gone.”
3. Curate a mocktail selection.
Around the world, more and more people are opting to switch out their alcoholic beverage for something non-alcoholic such as a “mocktail.” There are plenty of reasons why mocktails are growing in prevalence. For starters, not everyone drinks alcohol, and many individuals are looking to cut down their consumption for personal, health, and economic reasons. Mocktails are a fantastic option for guests who are driving, pregnant, want to pace themselves, or just simply aren’t in the mood for alcohol.
Similar to your regular cocktail menu, take some time to develop mocktails that pair perfectly with your food dishes and ensure that your servers know which ones to recommend for which pairing. Mocktails will still be included on your cocktail list along with your restaurant’s other cocktail offerings; however, make sure to define which options are non-alcoholic clearly.
Mocktails are also a smart business move for your restaurant. As these drinks don’t include alcohol, they have the most expensive element missing from the mix. Therefore, it is a lot cheaper to make mocktails than other types of cocktails. However, the price point for a mocktail is still higher than other non-alcoholic beverages or regular soda. This can make mocktails very lucrative for your establishment.
4. Update your beverage menu design.
First and foremost, your beverages should always have their own menu so as not to be overwhelmed by the food options. By creating a separate beverage menu, you are ensuring that the drinks have enough space to catch the diner’s attention. The menu should be easy to read and have enough detail about the beverages to make them appealing. In fact, the beverage descriptions are incredibly important as they are your opportunity to get your customers excited over the drink prior to looking at the price.
You always want to organise the beverage menu (such as separating your alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks) so that it is easy for patrons to find the beverage they are in the mood for. That being said, it is always recommended that you list your highest margin items first. You may also want to design your beverage menu so that a reader’s eye is drawn to some of the more expensive items on the list.
Colours, fonts, and photos are all integral parts of your restaurant’s beverage menu. Therefore, it is crucial that these branding elements are cohesive with your overall aesthetic. Some menu designs do well with images, while others are better suited to be more simple. The right colours and fonts encourage purchases, so make sure you are carefully selecting them to positively affect a customer’s perception of the beverages.
5. Ensure servers know the menu.
Even if you have a perfectly designed menu filled with delicious beverage choices, if your servers don’t know the menu well enough to answer guests’ questions and suggest options, then it isn’t going to resonate as well as it could with customers.
For this reason, servers must be trained in the art of selling beverages without being pushy. One of the most effective ways to do this is by having servers recommend their favourite drinks to patrons and give them ideas for which beverages would pair well with their entree. When done well, this can come across very naturally and can be useful for diners who don’t know what beverage they want to drink.
In order to do this, servers must have an understanding of the different beverages on your menu and the most popular pairing combinations. In many cases, patrons may need guidance when it comes to their beverage choice, so this also helps them to have the best overall experience possible.
What do you think are the most important aspects of a restaurant’s beverage menu? What makes you excited about a beverage menu? Let us know your thoughts and any additional insights in the comments below!
Lamia Rochdi is the Marketing Manager at Bell Flavors & Fragrances EMEA. A successful family-owned business, Bell’s core competencies include customized solutions for the food and beverages industry, the household and personal care sector, and the perfume industry.
Lisa Eclesworth is a notable and influential lifestyle writer. She is a mom of two and a successful homemaker. She loves to cook and create beautiful projects with her family. She writes informative and fun articles that her readers love and enjoy.