A good selection of beverages is more important than ever in a restaurant’s menu. For starters, drinking is a vital element of any social function and dining experience. Today’s clientele is also more sophisticated and demanding and will want to partner their order with the perfect beverage. If you want to survive in the increasingly cutthroat restaurant industry, you have to offer better drinks.
More and more restaurateurs are revamping their menus to include more beverage options. It’s not uncommon for restaurants to make a specific cocktail or wine selection for each dish on the menu. The days of canned soda and iced tea are over. Customers want something new, fresh, and exciting, and it doesn’t have to be all alcoholic. It could be something as simple as adding vegan options such as kombucha to investing in an on-site roaster for top-shelf coffee.
One thing is clear: you can breathe new life into a struggling restaurant just by offering new beverages, even if it’s smoothie franchise opportunities. If you’re looking for ways to capitalize on this new beverage craze, you’ve come to the right place. Here are a few pointers to get you started:
1. Offer specialty teas
We’re all familiar with this scenario: restaurants are revamping their menus, cocktails, and wine lists, but still stick to store-bought tea bags. Today’s clientele is more discerning about the tea they consume, and business owners have failed to see the opportunity in embracing artisanal tea blends and offering afternoon or full tea as part of the menu.
Health concerns as well as a general reaction against caffeine have led to the rise of herbal and gourmet tea blends. A better appreciation for British and Indian cultures has also contributed to this movement. Dedicated tea houses are slowly opening in major cities and more coffee shops are offering tea options alongside standard cafe fare.
2. Allow customers to customize their drinks
In the age of Instagram and TikTok, restaurants must find ways to make their offerings interesting and snapworthy. One way to do this is to allow customers to flex their creative muscles by customizing their drinks. For instance, you could offer a base drink such as iced tea or soda and a selection of extras like fruit pieces and flavor shots. If you have a bar, you can also think about offering a build-your-own cocktail.
3. Improve your water
No meal is complete without water, and we can find ways to improve our bottom line but offering better water selections as well. One popular trend is infusing water with vegetables, herbs, and fruits to improve the taste. For instance, adding mint to cold water instantly makes it more refreshing, and customers are willing to pay a premium for this improved water. Make sure to market your new water options as healthy and herbal for the added effect.
4. Invest in novelty machines
One of the latest trends in the beverage scene is the self-serve soda machine. Pioneered by the Coca-Cola Company in 2009, these soda machines allow customers the chance to customize their own soda product from a selection of over 100 brands and varieties, including flavors that aren’t available in supermarkets and convenience stores.
Restaurants that have invested in a self-serve soda fountain have seen their in-store sales increase by an average of 4 to 6 percent. It plays into customers’ love for variety and novelty and is proof that bold choices can translate into profits.
5. Highlight sustainable drinks
We now know that customers want beverage options that are new, fresh, and exciting. Restaurants, in turn, have updated their selections, offered more flavors and varieties, and found ways to present them in a better light. Another rising trend in the food industry is the growing awareness of food sustainability. Customers now want to know where their food comes from.
This presents an opportunity for restaurants to create a backstory for their menu. You could choose to partner with a fair-trade brand, show customers how the coffee beans and tea leaves are grown, and tell the stories of the people who harvest them. By emphasizing the ethical sourcing of your products, you can entice environmentally-conscious customers to come to your restaurant.
These are some ways to upgrade your beverage offerings. A selection of sodas and iced teas simply won’t cut it in today’s competitive market. Customers thirst for something new, and restaurant owners can now offer a wide range of specialty drinks.