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Beverage

Beverage trends spilling into the restaurant industry

Beverage

Juicy returns

Juicing is powering up menus. The recession put a squeeze on sales of made-to-order juices, according to the 2014 Juice & Smoothie Bars in the U.S. report by Los Angeles market researcher IBISWorld. But increased consumer demand for healthy beverages and an expansion of juicing into concepts other than smoothie and juice bars are revitalizing the category, the report says.

Beverage

Modernizing mixers

To keep cocktail lists current, progressive mixologists are looking to the past, resurrecting old-fashioned mixers and modifiers with modern twists.

To build buzz around traditional winter drinks such as hot chocolate and cider, operators are borrowing tactics from the coffee wars, touting handcrafted techniques and seasonal flavors more often associated with lattes and mochas.

Fads come and go, but true emerging beverage trends have staying power and growth potential. We’ve done some recon on what’s predicted to be the next big thing in craft beer, cocktailing and fast-casual drinks—the developments poised to make dollars and sense for operators in the year ahead.

Latin and Asian cocktails are expanding into new territory.

Alcohol sales in chain restaurants and bars will rise 2.7 percent next year, a positive, albeit moderate, acceleration from 2014, according to the latest forecast from Technomic.

Given all the fanfare surrounding the mixology movement, cocktail lists are garnering as much attention as food menus, making the bartender as important a hire as the chef.

Beer, wine and even cocktails have been a point of differentiation for fast casuals, but as far as consumers are concerned, there’s still room to grow.

A brand doesn't have to be a beverage specialist to drive traffic and sales with hot beverages. With a little inspiration from players in the specialty beverage segment and a modest investment in training, equipment and supplies—such as sturdy and functional cups, cup sleeves and bulk hot beverage carriers—restaurant operators of all types can run profitable hot coffee and tea programs.

The next wave for coffee specialists: trading high craft for high-tech without losing customization and a sense of high art.