If you are a restaurant owner or operations manager, bringing new customers in the door and improving sales is always at the forefront of your mind. While good marketing, delicious food, and a detail-oriented staff can certainly help your efforts, using smart strategies to boost beverage sales is essential in order to increase your revenue.
Selling more beverages may sound complicated, especially during lunch hour when people tend to drink water instead of alcoholic drinks. But there are ways to increase beverage sales in your restaurant all throughout the day -- you just have to get inside the minds of your customers and give them what they want! Think about implementing the following strategies to hit and even surpass your restaurant’s sales goals.
1) Serve Seasonal Drinks
Every new season brings a prime opportunity to adjust your drink menu. According to Technomic’s 2016 Consumer Brand Metrics, 39% of consumers aged 18-34 said that their favorite drink flavors change along with the seasons. Additionally, 69% of millennials are more likely to buy seasonal items. So, give your customers what they want in the summertime: tropical cocktails and sparkling summer mocktails. And when the leaves start to change, pumpkin ciders and spiced fall cocktails are always a go-to. In the wintertime, festive hot drinks can bring a sense of comfort and joy to every patron and increase sales through the holidays. And as a bonus for your bottom line: every season brings with it the chance to purchase seasonal fruits, herbs, and flavors that may be more expensive during out-of-season months.
2) Limited Time Offers
While limited time offers (LTOs) may seem similar to seasonal beverages, they are quite different. You can set your LTO to run for a shorter period of time rather than through an entire season. This can bring a sense of urgency to customers and excite them to return again before the LTO ends. Think about creative ways to use LTOs such as on certain holidays like the Fourth of July, or even “drink holidays” like “National Coffee Day,” “National Hot Chocolate Day,” “National Cocktail Day” and so on. Your city may even have its own local holidays or celebrations you can incorporate into a beverage menu that runs for a limited time.
3) Mix Up Some Mocktails
You may have noticed that more customers are turning down sugary sodas and alcohol altogether. But instead of just offering plain water as a healthy option, crafting sparkling mocktails and other nonalcoholic beverages in-house can help boost beverage sales. Not only are mocktails fun for a designated driver to drink, they can be much healthier than soda. This is especially important for customers who are either watching their waistlines, or want healthier drink options for their kids. Healthy sparkling water drinks are also all the rage with no signs of slowing down in popularity. According to Google’s 2017 Beverage Trends Report, consumers are showing more and more interest in drinking sparkling water. So, get creative and add some sparkle to your menu pronto!
4) Let Them Drink Dessert
Customers often eat a lot before the dessert menu is even thought of. And when the time comes to order dessert, it’s usually turned down! A great way to get customers to spend more is to offer drinkable desserts. Specialty coffee drinks, housemade herbal teas, and cordials or sweet cocktails are a good way to boost beverage sales at the end of the meal without making your customers feel overly-stuffed.
5) Use Suggestive Selling Strategies
In order for your beverage menu to resonate well with customers, you should ensure that your servers and bartenders are trained in the art of upselling. An effective way for servers to suggestively sell your drinks while also staying genuine, is to have them recommend their favorite drinks to customers. Perhaps there is an after-dinner drink they love, or a craft mocktail that would pair well with an entree. Offering suggestions like this instead of asking, “What do you want to drink?” is the perfect way to get customers considering ordering more than just water – without being pushy.
Restaurant Water Dispensers Can Increase Beverage Sales
A restaurant water filtration system can give your customers exactly what they want and boost your drink sales all throughout the day. Install a Natura water dispenser and make it easy for your staff to mix up a variety of craft cocktails, sparkling mocktails, coffee drinks, and other nonalcoholic beverages on-demand.