How to increase beverage sales
Having an excellent drinks menu will help set your business apart from the competition and ensure that your customers spend more each time they visit. Here's a list of seven ways you can start to increase your beverage sales.
1. Build a robust beverage menu
If you're serving drinks, then you should put effort into creating an exciting drinks menu that entices customers to spend more. If your beverage menu is only a simple list featuring a few types of soft drink and one brand of beer, then it's not going to be terribly exciting for customers to order from. Your beverage menu should also be easy for customers to find and provide them with information on ways to customise their order. For example, you could offer drinks with or without ice, in larger or smaller sizes, or with additional inclusions such as different syrups or concentrates.
2. Introduce new and exciting drink options
Sometimes the best way to increase beverage sales is to offer new and unique beverage options or even a twist on an old favourite such as MILO milkshakes! Think about the latest beverage trends and find ways to incorporate them into your menu. You may want to invest in new equipment that makes serving certain beverages easier. For example, Nescafé Cold Brew Coffee offers an easy way to start serving Nitro cold-brew coffee to your customers without needing a nitrogen tank.
Cold brew coffee is an excellent canvas from which you can make a variety of unique and flavourful drinks. Take a look at this recipe for Deconstructed Vietnamese Nitro Cold Brew and for some inspiration.
Alternatively, there may be certain types of beverages that you aren't currently serving but could be. For example, you aren't serving any kind of iced tea then you could incorporate it into your menu.
3. Ensure your beverage offers are take-away friendly
Don’t just think about people consuming your drinks on-premises – make sure you’re catering to delivery and takeaway orders as well! Invest in sustainable takeaway packaging for your drinks, including eco-friendly straws. For delivery orders, you should also make sure you’re using disposable cupholders or another means of keeping the customer’s drink secure while it’s in transit.
Take some inspiration from Liquorette in Auckland, which offers takeaway versions of its signature cocktails. They also have an online ordering system where customers can order personalised cocktails that they can rename or add short messages to.
4. Consider expanding your drinks menu with both hot and cold options
You should try to maintain a good balance between hot and cold options so that you can cater to as wide a range of customers as possible. If you notice beverage sales are lacking during warmer months, perhaps you don’t have enough quality cold beverage options on offer.
5. Run special offers
Running special "chalkboard" or menu special offers and getting front of house staff to promote them directly to customers is a reliable, time-tested way to increase beverage sales. This tactic leverages FOMO (fear of missing out) since your offer is only around for a limited time and makes the ordering experience more engaging for customers. This is also a great way to test out new products, take advantage of sales from suppliers, and leverage seasonal trends (such as in season fruit drink options). Chalkboard and menu specials also add a sense of spontaneity and authenticity to your business in the eyes of customers.
6. Promote your beverages
While improving beverage sales through promotion seems like obvious advice, a surprising number of foodservice operators fail to adequately promote their beverages. Although it's assumed most customers will order a drink with their food, it's not always guaranteed, and these customers may buy a more expensive beverage if it were promoted better. Instead of your drink options being something produced behind the counter that customers never see until they're served, use images to promote them in your menu and around your restaurant. Alternatively, having reach-in options (such as a cool fridge with soft drinks) allows you to benefit from marketing signage from major brands that increase the likelihood of a customer ordering them.
Extra tip: Today's customers are increasingly conscious of sustainability in food packaging and preparation - leverage this when trying to increase your beverage sales. For example, you could put up a sign that encourages customers to bring their own reusable coffee cups.
7. Enhance the visuals
Everything from the way you garnish a drink to the type of glass you serve it in has an aesthetic impact. The appearance of a drink isn't only important for the satisfaction of the customer who ordered it, since it will also be seen by other customers and can influence what they choose to order. Make sure that you're using high-quality glassware, and don't hesitate to experiment with aesthetic highlights that make your beverages stand out.
Extra tip: Certain famous beverages are served in branded or specially shaped glasses or come with special garnishes. If you're going to serve an iconic beverage, make sure you get the details right!
8. Harness the power of nibbles
A sure way to increase beverage sales is to offer salty snacks that push people to order that second drink or even get them hungry enough to order a full meal. Keep this in mind when designing your food menu, as salty sides will always help push customers towards ordering a sweet drink or dessert.
9. Keep an eye on staff training
All your front-of-house staff should receive comprehensive training when it comes to serving and promoting beverages, not just bartenders and baristas. Your waitstaff should understand the ins and outs of your beverage offering so that they can easily answer customer questions and upsell with confidence.