Your waitstaff carries a lot of weight when it comes to your beverage business, according to a new report from Technomic. Nearly one quarter (23 percent) of consumers in a recent online survey say they would consider ordering a beverage they had not tried before if the server recommended it. Heavy consumers of beverages were most likely to be swayed by a suggestion, with 30 percent acknowledging that a server’s plug for a drink would influence them.
“This likely indicates that these consumers are more open to trying new beverages overall and suggests that operators may be able to use server recommendations to market new, limited-time offers or seasonal beverages toward this group,” says Darren Tristano, executive v.p. at Technomic.
The findings are included in Technomic’s new Beverage Consumer Trend Report, which looks at more than two dozen beverage types, including soft drinks; coffee beverages; bottled water; sports, energy and fusion drinks; lemonade; tea; smoothies; and more. The report contains menu, consumer and competitive insights and looks at current and emerging menu trends and consumer consumption behavior, purchasing decisions, attitudes and preferences for beverages.
Tristano suggests these strategies to spur liquid refreshment sales:
1. Consider investing in a separate nonalcoholic/adult beverage menu and table tents to promote limited-time only seasonal beverages and signature items.
2. Servers should always take a beverage order separately from the food order to create an additional point of choice.
3. Pointing out limited-time only seasonal drinks and signature beverages, which can promote impulse buying behavior.
4. When taking adult food orders, servers should recommend adult beverages that pair well with their entrée.
5. For teenagers, nonalcoholic (and potentially high-profit) mocktails provide an opportunity to feel more like a grownup.
6. Innovative options could be suggested to younger consumers, who show a greater interest in new and unique beverages.
7. Finally, servers should be diligent in recommending coffee, tea or specialty beverages that can be served with desserts.
Overall, Tristano adds, servers should be educated in understanding the varying interests and needs of consumers age groups in offering specialty, adult, traditional and energy drinks.
And if you’re wondering whether the economy has affected alcoholic beverage sales, you’ll be happy to know that the latest Gallup poll says 67 percent of U.S. adults now drink them—a 25-year high. For more on the poll, check out this recent RH Extra story:
Bar Customers: Plenty To Go Around