Industry Tips

Top 6 beverage strategies for restaurants

Tap into these top beverage strategies to learn how your restaurant can get the most from you drink menu.

Peanut butter and jelly, chips and salsa, popcorn and a movie—some combinations just work. There’s magic in these perfect pairs, something that’s especially true for the delightful pairing of a classic cocktail and a delicious dish. As restaurants look for ways to differentiate themselves and grow their business, many are turning to a proven solution: a well-crafted beverage strategy. In fact, 64% of restaurant owners said they plan to promote beverages more in 2024 because it helps increase order size.

If you want larger ticket totals on tap, here are six ways to use beverages to meet your business goals.

1. Drum up drink interest online 

Guests often peek at the online menu in anticipation of their next meal. With 67% of consumers stating that they are more likely to order from a restaurant with an online beverage menu, including a drink menu on your website is a great way to entice more guests to your business. What’s more? Having an online menu that’s both mobile-friendly and interactive lets guests browse from their preferred device and equips them with everything they need to make a dining decision. That includes captivating photos (more on that later) and reviews from other guests.

2. Don’t be afraid to (brand) name-drop

Sure, it may be tacky to name-drop in certain settings but promoting name-brand beverages on your menu can be a game changer for drink sales. People tend to play favorites with certain brands; in fact, 47% of diners will order a cocktail if it includes their preferred liquor. Knowing that your restaurant can make guests’ drinks just the way they like will entice them to order a drink—or two.

3. Promote pairing suggestions 

Suggesting beverage pairings on your menus is a great way to increase order size and improve the dining experience. Don’t limit your recommendations to alcoholic pairings though. According to Gallup News, young adults are drinking alcohol less than prior decades. Including suggestions for mocktails, sodas, and other non-alcoholic beverages is a great way to ensure everyone enjoys a refreshing drink and your restaurant earns more revenue with every order.

4. Dish out discounts 

Promotions not only help you advertise your business, but they also increase revenue by bringing in new guests, enticing previous guests to make a return visit, or encouraging higher spending. According to a study done by Popmenu, 80% of diners will try a new restaurant if they can get a discount—and when it comes to beverages, there are a lot of creative and strategic ways to provide deals. From happy hours offering lower-priced cocktails and “daily drink specials” priced at a discount, to an email or text promotion offering a free beverage with the purchase of a meal, the possibilities are endless. 

5. Entice customers with engaging images

It is human nature to be drawn to visuals; in fact, the human brain processes images 60,000 times faster than text. So, if you want your diners to order a round, start with beautiful photography. When it comes to getting those glamour shots, use name-brand beverages when possible (see tip no. 2). Also, when photographing cocktails, try replacing liquor like gin or vodka with water to get the look of the drink without using up any of your product. And pro tip: Put the glassware into a freezer for about five minutes before shooting, and the condensation will make that cocktail look irresistible. 

6. Get creative with beverage strategy 

Guests are always looking for new and unique drinks, so don’t be afraid to get creative with offerings. For example, tap into social media to discover trending beverages that might catch diners’ attention. We also recommend involving staff by letting them create and name their own drinks, especially since they’ll be more likely to talk these up to customers.

Regardless of how you choose to get creative, be sure to highlight special offerings on your menu. Whether featuring a limited-time beverage or creating a dedicated section for non-alcoholic offerings, it’s crucial to maximize visibility for customers. Interested in more ways to promote your beverage strategy? Schedule a free demo with one of our experts to learn how Popmenu’s suite of marketing tools, easy-to-update websites and online menus can make it easy for your restaurant.

Front of the House Resource

2024 Restaurant Trends Report

Are you up-to-date on 2024's hottest restaurant trends? From AI in restaurants to beverage menu promotions, Popmenu's 2024 Restaurant Trends Report covers all the changes that are shaping the restaurant industry.

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