National Restaurant Association releases new beverage alcohol trend research

The report captures new data on adult diners who are likely to order drinks, and how operators have changed their drinks options to drive new trends.
Image courtesy of the National Restaurant Association

A new report by the National Restaurant Association, On the Menu: Trends in On- and Off-Premises Beverage Alcohol, captures new data on adult diners who are likely to order drinks, and how operators have changed their drinks options to drive new trends. The data in the report looks at trends across age, income, beverage category preference, and location, providing unique new insights.

Overall, among full-service restaurants that offer drinks, alcohol beverages represent an average of 21% of total sales. In the limited-service segment, alcohol beverages make up an average of 6% of sales for establishments that offer it.

This means that alcohol presents restaurant operators with a creative and high-margin opportunity to innovate and set themselves apart from the competition. According to the new data, customers agree.

  • 84% of adults who drink wine, beer, or cocktails say restaurants are a good place to learn about alcohol beverages that they haven’t tried before.
  • 82% of these consumers say they trust the staff at their local restaurants to make good recommendations when it comes to alcohol beverages.
  • Beer drinkers (70%), wine drinkers (69%) and cocktail drinkers (67%) are more likely to say the availability of alcohol beverages makes them more likely to choose one restaurant over another.

“As much as an exclusive dish or a unique atmosphere can set a restaurant apart, many customers are looking at the drinks menu to influence their dining choices, both in the restaurant and with takeout,” said Michelle Korsmo, President & CEO of the National Restaurant Association. “They trust their local restaurants, and this puts operators who serve alcohol in a position to be creative and offer adult diners the freedom to try something new they wouldn’t, or couldn’t, try at home.”

Learn more and download the report.

Members help make our journalism possible. Become a Restaurant Business member today and unlock exclusive benefits, including unlimited access to all of our content. Sign up here.


Exclusive Content


7 Brew is coming to your town, whether you like it or not

The drive-thru coffee chain is one of the fastest-growing concepts in the U.S. and has deals to keep it going. The company believes it has the training in place to make it work.


It's time to send 'ghost kitchen' to the graveyard

Tech Check: The catch-all term for delivery restaurants is no longer accurate. Let’s lay it to rest and come up with a new label.


Higher-end consumers may be slowing their spending

The Bottom Line: There is some evidence that higher-income consumers may be cutting back. Or maybe there was just some pent-up demand.


More from our partners