Long menus are ancient and archaic; unless you’re a 24-hour diner that prides itself on the availability of a large amount of items, your menu should be kept shorter than a comic book. One section that tends to be incredibly tiny, and at most is a half-page at the back is the drink menu.
Why does the drink menu get the least amount of attention? Unless your restaurant prides itself on a variety of beers or an eclectic selection of wines, your drink menus includes standard fare at standard prices, and feature nothing special. Considering a drink will likely go with every single customer that comes in your doors, maybe it’s time to take a look at your drink menu and see what improvements can be made.
- Water: do you sell it in bottles, or do you pour it from water pitchers? If you’re pouring up fresh glasses, are you at least using a water filter? Bottled soft drinks are on the uptick in America for a variety of reasons. According to The New York Times, bottled water sales are gaining ground for the country’s renewed commitment to health combined with increasingly-cheap prices; compare a 24 count pack of bottled waters for $2 versus 12 soft drink cans for $4. There have been complaints that bottled waters prove to be a waste for the environment, but there’s a security that’s not found in other drinks, with drinks being sealed until the consumer enjoys them. The decision comes down to a few factors: can you afford buying and storing enough water bottles for your customer base, or does your restaurant pride itself on being ecologically responsible? Neither is the right answer, but one may just work well for you.
- Soft drinks are traditionally great profit-makers for restaurants, given the low cost of syrup compared to the price per glass (allowing many restaurants to offer free refills), and restaurants with machines that automatically mix flavor syrups have had major success. You can improve on sales and flavors of these drinks without having to install major machinery with simple syrups. Get experimental and see which flavors work in certain combinations, and offer a “flavor addition” for 20 or 30 cents; you never know, people might start beating down your doors for Butterscotch Sprite or White Chocolate Mountain Dew.
- Wine may have it’s own menu, but you might need to update how the menu describes the drinks. The Cornell Daily Sun has found that more factual notes on the wine (year, region, etc.) lead to more discussion with the sommelier about subjective notes, like flavor, smell, and beyond. Having a well-trained staff is also of import when selling these high-ticket drinks.
- Coffee? We’ve got a whole guide on how you may want to make your coffee a bit more important.
The most common drinks in your restaurant might need a bit of a revision. Hopefully, if you take this minor steps, you’ll be able to find newfound interest in the oft-forgotten area of your menu, yet the place all of your orders include an item from.