Alcohol-Free Worth Ordering


While many chain operators count on family gatherings for a major part of their business, making sure that the non-drinkers in those and other groups get the chance to try something special is often overlooked.

But last spring, TGIFridays launched a collection of new contemporary menus that featured Liberated Libations, an elevated alcohol-free beverage experience that showcased fresh ingredients and innovative beverages at competitive prices. Turned out it was a good idea and successful enough to take the 2015 VIBE Vista Award for best alcohol-free chain restaurant program.

Designed to deliver on the Friday's brand promise of infectious energy and build on the chain's long-held image that, “In here, it’s always Friday,” the program was also targeted to increase overall beverage sales, trial of featured liberated libations, emphasize the new “handcrafted” menu offerings and provide enhanced selling tool to showcase partners Coca Cola and Red Bull.

“A drink doesn’t always have to be a drink. And that’s the perfect time for one of our refreshing alcohol-free concoctions.” That was a key aspect of the program, featuring premium alcohol-free brands in a variety of drinks to appeal to a range of guests, with trending flavors.

A flexible binder design of menu allowed seasonal limited-time-only pages to be introduced. Die-Cut tabs were used to differentiate sections of the menu, allowing servers and bartenders to easily flip to a page or point to a tab to sell appetizers and beverages at the beginning of each meal.

But the drinks had to work. They included Strawberry Passion Fruit Tea (freshly brewed black tea, fresh strawberries, strawberry purée, passion fruit purée, lemon juice, lime juice, and agave nectar); Triple Berry Smoothie (raspberries, blackberries, strawberry purée, cranberry juice, lemon juice, lime juice, agave nectar, and fresh strawberries); Gold Medalist (strawberry purée, cream of coconut, pineapple juice, grenadine, fresh banana and fresh strawberry); Friday’s House-Made Lemonade and Strawberry Lemonade Crush (freshly muddled strawberries, lime juice, lemon juice, cane sugar, fresh lemons, and Sprite).

Results were bracing: since the launch of the 2014 menu, more than 420,000 alcohol-free units have been sold resulting in more than $1,000,000 in sales. As the weather warms, these sorts of creative refreshers may have set the new bar for other chains to take on, and profit, from customer demands for something fresh, new and lively.