Beverage trends spilling into the restaurant industry


Libation exploration

Latin and Asian cocktails are expanding into new territory.


Beer cocktails expected to lead step-up in chains’ drink sales in 2015

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.

“What’s on tap?” no longer is a question only beer-loving customers ask, as restaurant operators realize they can make their concepts buzzworthy and more efficient by adding unexpected beverages to the bar tap.

When the Nutritious & Delicious menu debuted at Lazy Dog Restaurant & Bar in 2012, it immediately boosted traffic and frequency of visits during lunch and dinner, attracting both millennials and empty nesters, men and women, says Gabe Caliendo.

Milkshakes and malts—two old-time soda-fountain treats—are seeing big-time action at fast casuals. By differentiating the beverage menu with these indulgences, fast-casual concepts are vying for that between-meal customer who is a regular at the coffee cafe.

Southwest Airlines passengers now sip the airline's signature LIFT® coffee from an improved new cup. It's easy to hold, heat retaining, environmentally friendly and sends an updated brand message for the airline as well.