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3 Beverage Trends that Can Improve Restaurant Sales

Published By: Leon Tuberman  -  Thursday, March 23, 2017

Whether patrons are drinking hot chocolate indoors on a cold day or enjoying a Mai Tai sitting at the outdoor restaurant furniture during the summer, the beverages a restaurant offers very often define them. Every eatery can provide iced tea, soda and basic alcoholic beverages. It's when restaurateurs start getting creative, though, that people really start to notice. Rome wasn't built in a day, however, so recognizing these beverage trends could be a first step to taking a restaurant's drink game to the next level. 

Iced Coffee Becoming a Necessity
While iced coffee may seem like something strictly for chain coffee shops, many restaurateurs have begun adding the beverage to their menu. In fact, menu mentions of this cold pick-me-up drink have jumped 23 percent over the last year. And as it turns out, it's not just because fancy commercial restaurant equipment isn't needed to make it.

The increase in iced coffee offerings has occurred because younger adults enjoy the drink. And considering that Millennials recently overtook Baby Boomers as the largest American age cohort, it's obvious that restaurateurs need to spend time appeasing the young crowd. This way, eateries can sell coffee even to those open-air lovers sitting at the outdoor restaurant furniture.

Cider House Rules
To the beer and whiskey drinkers out there, it may not sound exciting to sit at a bar table and drink a cider. It just doesn't have the flavor these patrons are looking for. This doesn't mean, however, that someone isn't looking for it. In fact, cider sales increased over 300 percent between 2010 and 2015. The second highest increase came from liquor, and its sales movement was under 11 percent.

There are a variety of reasons that could explain this increase. Most importantly, it's young adults again. Millennials have driven the sales of cider and craft beer through the roof. Then again, there's no doubt that older individuals enjoy the apple or pear-based flavors too. Either way, offering ciders is becoming essential.

Custom Flavors Are a Hit
Not to beat a dead horse, but young adults are again driving one of the biggest trends in beverages. Everyone likes things their way, but when it comes to Millennials and their younger cohort, Generation Z, it's basically a requirement. A full 31 percent of individuals in these age groups say that they're likely to customize their beverages with flavor shots.

As it turns out, they're doing this for both hot and cold beverages, and it's not just about adding strawberry juice to lemonade or a lime twist to soda anymore. Add some Creme de Menthe and chocolate sauce to espresso, and a mint mocha is born. In fact, go ahead and let people decide just how sweet they want their tea by choosing to add peach, strawberry or cherry flavoring to it. Having a few additional flavors around can do wonders.

A restaurant isn't going to survive simply by selling beverages, but they can, no doubt, increase their sales with a little ingenuity and trend awareness. Whether it's alcohol at the bar tables or that iced coffee at the outdoor restaurant furniture, patrons love it when restaurateurs pay attention to what they really want.


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