Thomas Henry Strenk

Articles by
Thomas Henry Strenk

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How to keep alcohol flowing at fast casuals

Many fast-casual operators are experimenting with different strategies to sell these beverages in a counter-service environment, most often without a dedicated bar. Several operators are discovering that profitable sweet spot between fast and casual.


How 3 restaurants let customers craft their own cocktails

The new drink trend is toward “build-your-own” cocktails where the guest is presented with the option of choosing drink ingredients from several categories.

Many operators are cutting cocktail wait times by batching cocktails and either bottling, barrel-aging or kegging them to serve on tap for speedy service.

Today’s vibrant cocktail culture has given rise to inventive icy drinks, but for the most part, hot alcoholic beverages have lagged behind in creativity.

Now that Manhattans, sidecars and other classic drinks from the early 20th century are on cocktail lists, bartenders are mining the oldies for inspiration.

Three in 10 consumers look for local craft beers and ciders at restaurants, finds Chicago researcher Technomic, and operators are expanding their selection.

While early tiki concepts used concentrates and canned juices, today, it’s all about fresh juices and quality ingredients, says Rob Goldberg.

Although operators do have customers who are loyal to the beer they drank in college, there is increasing demand for smaller-batch beers, seasonal brews and those with a local pedigree.

Delays that pile up over a service period not only diminish the guest experience, they can result in lost profits. Savvy operators are taking steps to pick up the pace.

When guests sidle up to the bar at New York City’s Porchlight, the first stand-alone bar from Danny Meyer’s Union Square Hospitality Group, they will find a Southern influence and a craft-cocktail focus.

When it comes to wine lists, bigger is not always better.

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

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