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Succeeding at Zero-Proof

July 31, 2012 By: Robert Plotkin

What if you found out that there was a large and growing segment of the population that you weren’t catering to? These are people primed and ready to spend their hard-earned discretionary income in your establishment; however, since you haven’t identified their particular wants and needs, they go and spend their discretionary income at someone else’s business. That’s essentially what’s happening if you don’t actively market alcohol-free drinks. More than a passing fad, these concoctions are now part of the dynamics of our business.

Today, people are more predisposed to socializing without alcohol. Research reveals that only 25% of consumers who dine out at full-service restaurants order some type of beverage alcohol, be it spirits, beer or wine. There are numerous reasons why, including stricter DWI laws, health concerns, caloric content and personal preference. The trend has propelled alcohol-free drinks and products into a multi-billion dollar aspect of the on-premise industry.

In addition to increased consumer demand, another reason to market alcohol-free drinks is that they command profit margins equal to their more potent counterparts. Also, marketing alcohol-free beverages incurs no third-party liability and precipitates no service-related problems. From a management standpoint, incentives for selling alcohol-free drinks and beverages are rife.

As society continues tightening restrictions on the consumption of alcohol, on-premise operators need to tap into other sources of sustainable profits. From a risk/reward perspective, a well-conceived alcohol-free program is a strategy with tremendous long-term potential. It’s a timely initiative, one aimed at an ever-growing segment of the American public and capable of immediately adding percentage points to the bottom line.

 

Low Octane, High Profits

Especially in these challenging economic times, any night out is something of a special occasion. Even when not imbibing, your guests deserve sexier options than tap water and soda.

Succeeding in the realm of zero-proof is more certain and made considerably easier with Monin Gourmet Flavorings. These luxurious products are created specifically for drink making, regardless of whether the drink contains alcohol or not. Bartenders and mixologists rely on Monin syrups to imbue their alcohol-free specialties with body, a touch of sweetness, brilliant aromas and authentic, true-to-life flavors. Low in cost and free of alcohol, they’ve become absolute necessities behind American bars.

Alcohol-free specialty drinks have the potential to be as delicious and sophisticated as those containing alcohol. They need to be presented with the same appeal and flair as your bar’s other house specialties. To that end, here are some key items to consider.

Tantalizing Flavor — Attention-grabbing flavor is at the heart of every great alcohol-free specialty. Achieving that kind of engaging personality in a drink using only the juices and mixes stocked behind the bar is highly unlikely. Here’s where Monin Gourmet Flavorings are indispensable. In addition to every imaginable fruit flavor, it features the likes of Green Tea, Pumpkin Spice, Lavender, Roasted Chestnut and Chocolate Chip Cookie. The Monin range includes a number of delicious, highly imaginative flavor combinations nearly impossible to replicate in-house. Among them are Pineapple Chipotle, Habanero Lime, Spicy Mango and Spicy Chocolate. They’re like strapping a creative booster to your beverage program.

Effective Marketing Support — Support the program with high quality point-of-sale marketing and merchandising. Alcohol-free menus should be developed with the same production value as your regular specialty drink menu. A poorly conceived menu will undermine your efforts and make it appear to both your staff and clientele that you are merely going through the motions. The alcohol-free menu needs to be easily read in low light and present a balanced offering of alcohol-free drinks and beverages.

Table tents are also particularly effective. Consumers not interested in drinking alcohol typically don’t peruse the bar menu. However, a creative, graphically appealing table tent has an immediate affect on guests, as it’s often the first and only marketing device they see.

Alcohol-Free Pricing — Price your alcohol-free drinks in-line with your bar’s other specialties. Don’t allow price to inhibit sales volume. If priced too low, the bar staff will be hesitant to market them and may consider them to be lesser products. Price these drinks too high and your clientele will rightfully conclude that they are being gouged.

Perceived Value — Crucial to the success of the program is promoting specialties with high-perceived value. Techniques like muddling ingredients and handshaking drinks are excellent at conveying quality and attention to detail. Likewise, serving these drinks in enhanced specialty glassware, between 16-18 ounces, coveys value. Finishing the drink with a well-conceived garnish is a must.

Convertible Recipes — After you’ve developed a great tasting alcohol-free drink recipe, consider using it as a foundation for spirited version. Promoting convertible drink recipes increases the validity of stocking new ingredients behind the bar.

Addressing Staff Disconnect — Success of the alcohol-free program depends largely on staff buy-in. As the people who will be marketing the non-alcoholic beverages, they need to rid themselves of any lingering negative attitudes they may have towards alcohol-free drinks and the people who drink them. Servers need to believe in the quality and basic appeal of alcohol-free drinks to be successful selling them.

If you need some financial incentive before jumping on board, consider the magnitude of this untapped market. The demographics of alcohol-free drinkers include literally everyone. High profits and no liability make no-octane drinks one of the most significant mega-trends to hit the on-premise business. Risk-free profits—it’s how to best succeed financially in a .08 universe.

MARGARITA DE NADA
Cocktail glass, chilled
Rim glass with sea salt
Pour ingredients into an empty mixing glass
2 orange slices
2-3 lime wedges
3/4 oz. Monin Agave Nectar
3/4 oz. Monin Habanero Lime
Muddle thoroughly and add ice
1 1/2 oz. fresh lime sour mix
2 oz. ruby red grapefruit juice
Shake vigorously and double-strain into the chilled cocktail glass
Top with chilled Perrier
Garnish with a lime wheel and fresh strawberry
Note: Add 1 1/2 oz. premium blanco tequila to make the Margarita Playa Calient
 

NO NO MOJITO
Bucket glass, chilled
Pour ingredients into an empty mixing glass
4-5 fresh mint leaves
3-4 pineapple cubes
1 Demerara sugar cube, 1 teaspoon
Muddle thoroughly and add ice
3/4 oz. Monin Chipotle Pineapple
1 oz. fresh lime sour mix
Shake vigorously and pour into the chilled bucket glass
Top with chilled Perrier
Garnish with a lime wedge and pineapple spear
Note: Add 1 1/2 oz. Martinique rhum to make the Mojito Martinique.



 

 


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