to Know Now
Operating costs are growing tighter at the same time sales are harder to come by, so savvy operators are turning to high-margin items such as cocktails to stay ahead of the competition. Like a well-crafted cocktail, a drinks list must be well-balanced; it has to differentiate with signatures, as well as embrace new ideas and perfect the classics. Casual-dining chains are upgrading their bar programs to hit these goals, as an increased focus on alcohol can help drive sales, according to Technomic’s Future of FSR Consumer Trend Report.
Within the Top 500 chains, many concepts with a strong adult beverage focus are seeing sales rise or stabilize while the rest of the casual-dining segment slips. Specialty cocktails are also trending at family-dining chains, up 57% year over year. Cocktails can help broaden appeal and attract customers for more occasions, such as snacking, brunch and late-night visits, according to the report. Even fast casuals—which usually don’t have full-fledged bars—are finding ways to add cocktails to the menu by offering drinks on tap and bottled and canned cocktails.
Those chains finding success are moving beyond the basics. Click through to see how their bar programs are tapping into the top 10 cocktail trends.
Spirits: Up 5.5% in menu mentions year over year
Tequila: Up 9.4%
Whiskey/Bourbon: Up 6.6%
Vodka: Up 6%
Technomic MenuMonitor: Q4 2016-Q4 2017