Every week we comb through the news to find employment trends affecting the hospitality industry so you don’t have to. This week’s topic: driving alcohol sales at your restaurant.
Since the beginning of March, the hospitality industry has been forced to be creative to drive sales amidst closures and restrictions due to COVID-19. Some of this creativity is coming in the form of concept enhancements, such as ghost kitchens or mobile ordering, that have enabled restaurants to continue servicing guests while maintaining health and safety requirements. But there’s another avenue bars and restaurants can take to increase revenue: alcohol sales.
Focusing on creative alcohol sales is a great way to engage customers and increase revenue. There are several reasons to prioritize alcohol sales during the pandemic, one being that the demand was there pre-COVID. According to the National Restaurant Association, “56 percent of consumers over the age of 21 said they would be likely to order alcoholic beverages if they were offered as part of a food delivery order from a restaurant.” In addition to proven interest in the concept, restaurants can benefit by increasing sales through selling booze they have on-site that may not typically be as popular with customers. While thinking about how to boost beverage sales through delivery or to-go services, consider these options:
Build-your-own cocktail kits. Not only is this a fun way for guests to get the dine-in experience at home, it’s also a great way to get creative with ingredients that produce a good ROI. When designing these kits, put yourself in your customers’ shoes and decide what elements to include to provide a fun (and easy) cocktail experience. Remember, kits can also include bar tools (glasses, stirrers, garnishes), not just alcohol.
Sell whole bottles of wine, beer, or liquor. During the pandemic, people are looking to minimize their exposure –– so one stop shopping is a great way to establish return customers. By allowing customers to purchase alcohol directly through your restaurant, you can off-load extra inventory and increase sales. (Check out how these restaurateurs are profiting from alcohol sales during the pandemic.)
Replicate food and drink specials. Creating delivery and to-go specials that combine food and drinks are another good way to drive beverage sales and encourage purchases from customers. Maybe it’s an appetizer and wine pairing or a beer and burger combo – whatever you decide, make sure it’s relevant to what your guests like.
There are a variety of exciting and fun options for increasing alcohol sales, but prior to launching them, it’s vital to ensure your businesses number one priority is safety. There are a few ways to do so, including:
- Brush up on local laws. Because of the coronavirus, alcohol serving laws have been changing to accommodate contact free offerings. Be sure to research your local laws to find out where your city stands.
- Check ID’s every time. Any establishment that serves alcohol is used to checking identification, but with to-go and delivery options it’s more important than ever.
By building and/or growing programs surrounding alcohol sales, restaurants and bars can find new ways to attract customers and maintain business during a challenging time. Be creative – but safe – and keep your audience at top of mind in order to create a program that brings them back for more.