As a result of the pandemic, liquor and cocktail sales were expected to plummet. As pubs and restaurants were closed for socializing, alcohol consumption was restricted to at home and online.
It turns out, however, that alcohol sales continue to be the industry’s fundamental support. During the season of lockdown last year, alcohol sales rose by more than fifty-eight percent. Even so, this still represents a significant market when compared to two-eighths of the same season last 2019.
And now that indoor hospitality is open, it is expected for consumers to flock to pubs, restaurants. As an owner, it is undoubtedly advantageous for you, however, you should also understand that all business owners will behave in the same way.
The goal of every establishment is to attract customers. Staying on top of the competition is not as easy as it sounds, so make sure you think of practical ways to stay on top without being too pushy.
Increasing sales for your restaurant requires focus and proper management. Learn how every part of your operations can help you achieve your goal.
With this article in hand, you now have tips on how you can maximize the potential of alcohol and cocktail distribution smartly.
How To Increase Sales – Cocktails
If you are a restaurant, bar, or other on-premise establishments, you’ll be able to increase profit margins in the long run by utilizing innovative and creative upselling methods. It may mean urging customers to drink wine instead of beer, or it might mean adding premium spirits to cocktail recipes.
Alcohol is often treated as an accompaniment for meals, when in fact, bar drinks are a much better option when it comes to increasing sales than food.
Understand your target audience
To sell properly requires knowing who you want to sell to. Your cocktail list should be representative of your wide range of clients since each type of drink has its distinctive taste. The best ways to please a wide range of customers and boost sales with cocktails and liquors include mocktails and drinks featuring top-selling brands.
There are five main types of customers that your bartender could encounter during their shifts.
First, is the social media killer. Today’s marketing relies heavily on influencers. Your cocktail list can spread to potential customers like wildfire with just one post from them. There is no way your bar will go unnoticed as they have a huge following.
To appeal to such types, ensure that you’ll work on the presentation of your cocktail drinks. Help them help you and deliver “instagrammable” cocktail drinks. You may also opt to talk to them if you want a more direct approach.
Then there are the ones who want their mix. DIY mocktails remain popular and start appealing to younger consumers. Aside from health-conscious millennials, people of all generations are searching for alcohol-free drinks.
Your kindness will be appreciated by everyone from pregnant women to underaged customers, employees on their lunch break to those who just can’t bring themselves to consume any alcohol.
Following them are those who have just enough of an interest in cocktails to give them a hard pass. Those who can afford to drink elite drinks will look for those offerings, but what about people who just want a break?
Don’t let your cocktail menu lose sight of the classics, like the gin and tonic or the jack and coke. Having this in place will make approaching the bar easier for all types of customers.
The fourth type involves cocktail lovers. You’re dealing with customers who know quite a bit about drinks, so they expect you and your team to know pretty much as they do. Make sure you stay on top of the latest trends in liquor and cocktails if you want to attract this type of customer.
Then there are the premium customers. In addition to ordering the most expensive drink, they are the ones who lead all of the other guests to do so. You can easily increase your sales in the cocktail business if you find them since everyone at the table will order the same drink.
Be aware of the importance of timing
The challenge of securing a second drink order from a customer is almost always more challenging than fulfilling the original order. Psychology plays a big role in the reason. At a table with more than one person, the person with an empty glass will undoubtedly glance at the glasses of those others sitting there and determine whether or not it’s worth getting another glass.
After two-thirds of another person’s drink has been consumed, the person will probably conclude that they have plenty of time to order another drink and finish it when the other person is finished drinking.
The question is, what should a person do if their glass is less than half full? How about if it’s nearly empty? The chances of selling an additional drink are very slim. Selling to the person with the empty glass is standard practice when the glass of the person next to him or her is as full as possible. Waiting too long will reduce your chances of making the sale.
Provide free tastings
Your drink sales will increase if you offer free tastings to your customers. The more generous you are with a sample, the more likely people will reciprocate and buy the full bottle. You can also use this strategy to determine if a locally brewed beer or wine is gaining popularity among your patrons and should be added to your menu.
Similarly, you should introduce customers to new menu items by creating a new appetizer and offering a small sample.
Offers of recommendations
Making decisions is challenging for consumers, especially when there are a lot of options to choose from. Consumers are more likely to decide if they are presented with something specific.
You may train your bar team to apply the following suggested selling tips.
Make sure your staff suggests a refill. Whenever a guest has finished their drink, train your staff to suggest a refill, mentioning the specific drink they ordered rather than just “another drink.” As a result, they will be impressed and are likely to agree.
Provide premium liquor as a default selection. “Great choice!” is a phrase your staff should be trained to use. “Can I suggest this [premium liquor brand]? That sounds good to you, right?” is another phrase that can lead consumers into buying that premium brand.
Using your servers’ influence. The server should monitor whether a customer is looking at a drinks menu. In this case, have the server step over and suggest drinks, beers, or just their favorites so that the customer can determine their options.
Matching beverage suggestions. Make it easy for your visitors to find your beverage selection by adding a section under each of your food dishes.
Create signature cocktails for each bartender. If guests do not know what to order they will be more inclined to suggest their creations.
A bartender’s excitement about the drink increases sales because it makes the drinks more interesting. You will also have some competitiveness as well as the joy of making your drink.
Your servers and bartenders will gather a lot of information about your customers as they interact with them daily. Your staff can compete in a monthly cocktail recipe contest.
Encourage them to design new drinks to bring attention to a particular product. Make incentive contests a part of your business strategy. Establish sales targets, and if they are met, everyone benefits.
There is something extra for top sellers. Teamwork is rewarded this way, and each member receives an individual reward. You can offer incentives in the form of concert tickets or gift cards, or whatever else suits your team.
Organize drink and bar promotions
Establish yourself as the local hangout if you are located near a bustling commercial area. Create an environment and experience that consumers will want to enjoy. Price your products at a level that would entice even those friends who said ”I’d like it, but I want to save money”.
Consider figuring out how to stand out from other bars in your area by staying open late and offering promotions until late at night to drive more business.
Create a special, unique, and differentiated Happy Hour from your competitors. Your Happy Hour can be turned into a happy month or a happy week. Customers can even refer their friends to you and get a discount if they bring in a lot of business.
In addition to food, you should not overlook it. Food and drinks are an excellent combination for up-selling, and pairing them with food can help increase your revenue overall. You could create a pairing menu for happy hour by offering:
- Wine and cheese happy hour
- Beer and wings happy hour
- Steak and wine drink night
- Tacos and beer day
You can come up with all sorts of Happy Hour ideas. Create a hashtag, contest, or something similar, and let’s just say Geekie Hour or Happy Working Hour.
Incorporate a bar in the reception area
Adding a bar to a restaurant’s waiting area is one of the best ways to increase alcohol sales. The wait makes for a more enjoyable evening rather than an inconvenience. You can make your customers feel more relaxed with a beer or cocktail on a hectic night. It can also reduce customers’ abandonment of services during long waiting periods by engaging them.
Be careful on pricing your menu
To reduce expenses, you must never compromise quality to maximize your profits at the restaurant or bar. It is not a good idea to raise your liquor prices inordinately. The sudden increase in menu prices will surprise your clientele, and this will lead to a negative impression.
Your liquor menu can be increased gradually, in small increments, with intervals, instead. Because it won’t shock your customers with the unexpected increase in liquor prices, you won’t be burdened with additional costs.
As an example, if the bar is in a famous neighborhood, drinks will be more expensive than if it is a small street bar or a sports bar. As a result, the menu price is calculated according to how much time and money you spent on preparing the drink. It’s impossible to lose money when your business objective is to offer reasonable liquor to your customers.
You must also take into account the demographics of the market when pricing the menu. It is ideal to understand and know the preference of your customers first, because pricing from other areas may not work for your area.
Be sure your staff is informed about all drink specials
It is recommended that your staff be trained twice whenever you change the content of your cocktail menu. Providing this information is to reassure all service staff that they are knowledgeable about not just how a drink tastes, but why it tastes that way and what type of ingredients define that drink.
When your staff is well-trained and knowledgeable, more upselling on special cocktails and drinks can be expected. The importance of this increases if you add a new spirit or cocktail to your offerings.
Design a drink for men and women
Despite the common belief that men and women prefer almost the same types of cocktails, experience and data indicate otherwise. Rum and whiskey are natural favorites for men and other types of dark spirits.
Most women prefer their drinks to be presented in special glassware and garnished by hand. A variety of usually sweet or those with a lower calorie count, are also strongly preferred.
Ideally, if you are aware that your customer base has many female customers, your business should offer options to them. There are plenty of very simple ways to entice other female drinkers at the table to do this, such as serving a wheat beer with a bright orange slice.
Diversify your marketing tactics depending on the purpose
In bars and restaurants, two drinks for the price of one is one of the most common promotions. A patron can choose between beers, wine, or cocktails. Marketing tactics such as this are used to increase foot traffic and help bring customers in.
As soon as a customer enters your establishment, you must implement other marketing tactics that will drive them to purchase premium drinks and spirits. Depending on the type of promotion you implement, this might include a raffle or a giveaway to encourage the purchase of this type of premium item.
Make use of social media marketing. Digital and online marketing have a broad audience reach. Adding new items to the menu, changing the opening hours or closing times of your bar-restaurant, or uploading pictures of the event you have at your bar restaurant are all mandatory updates. In addition, you can post ads on social networks.
Keep an eye on your online reputation and reinforce it. Your restaurant bar may benefit from an optimized website that is search engine-friendly. To learn more about your relationship with your customers, you must utilize your website.
Your business must have a marketing department that oversees the large marketing tasks. Besides online marketing, you should also do offline marketing. Planning and setting goals that you would like to accomplish are essential.
Build on your strengths
Restaurant, bar, and cocktail profits can be improved by maximizing your strengths. Consider analyzing the strengths and weaknesses of your restaurant bar and identify where you can improve.
The restaurant POS reports can help you with this. Find out which menu items generate the most profits and are most popular with your customers. You will be able to see which menu items contribute the most revenue, as well as which items do not sell well.
You have a strong list of popular menu items. Examine the input from your customers to discover what your restaurant has to offer. Does the menu, service, or ambiance play a role in your choice?
With this information, you can come up with a marketing strategy for your restaurant and bar. Boosting your restaurant and bar profits, as well as attracting and retaining customers, could be achieved by doing this.
Incorporate innovative ideas such as cocktail making and bartending
If you would like drinks made at the bar, ask your bartenders. In this day and age, people are looking for something new and different. They can craft their drinks using new techniques with creativity and excitement.
Bartenders put on a good show for their customers. Wouldn’t it be great if you could hire a mixologist to create new, original drinks for your bar menu? It will be a point of attraction for your customers to have a mixologist at your bar since mixology is very trendy these days.
A seasoned bartender will also be a great addition a few days a week. This is an important USP for your business, and you can advertise it to gain more customers and clients. Instead, these are a new concept; as such, you can use them and let your customers swarm.