Whether it’s inflation or the residual effects of the pandemic, operators are still struggling to grow their bottom line.
For many, it may be time to take another look at improving their current beverage program and make that a 2023 priority. If that’s the case, you’re in luck. We researched some of the biggest 2023 trends for you to consider:
Ready to serve (RTS): Cocktails in a can really gained momentum in 2020, according to Hospitality Net. The RTS sales accelerated 171 percent in 2020 and were valued at $782.8 million in 2021 with no signs of slowing down in 2023. Offering canned or bottled beverages saves time and reduces labour behind the bar. Canned seltzer-based cocktails continue to be big, along with already-made cocktails like a canned mojito.
Carry-Out: The carry-out craze really picked up during the pandemic when dining and sipping out wasn’t really an option for a while. The trend continues in most states and it’s an attractive option for customers who want to grab and go. Check your local ordinance for rules and regulations.
Promotions: There are many more ways to promote your beverages beyond Happy Hour. Consider a late-night happy hour around 10 p.m. when bar traffic starts to die down, host an open-mic night, start a mug club, or tap into seasonal themes. Offer limited-time offers (LTO) for seasonal drinks like an Apple Manhattan in the fall or a warm spiked caramel latte in the winter months.
One of the biggest things operators may want to consider is making sure they have a balanced bar. A recent study from Gallup observed that of drinkers in the U.S. 35 percent prefer beer, 31 percent prefer wine, 30 percent favour liquor, with 3 percent having no preference. It’s about knowing your target audience. So, for example, if you’re primarily catering to a customer base that prefers beer, focus less on the other options and stock the most often ordered ales, etc. If your establishment is known for its amazing wine selection, that’s where you’ll want to invest your time and your beverage dollars.
Another thing to consider: alcohol preferences vary by age. An article in Statista Global Consumers Survey indicated that cocktails are primarily ordered by consumers ages 21-39, beer from drinkers ages 40-59, and wine is most popular between ages 60-64.
If you’re interested in expanding your beverage program and need additional information, ask your Gordon Food Service® representative.