The drinks offered at a restaurant are important; one-third of consumers: 33% consider alcohol beverages important to the overall dining out experience and 33% say these drinks program influence their where-to-dine decision, according to Technomic research. No surprise, those indicating drinks are important when dining out skews to Millennial consumers (age 21-34).
So is the proverbial glass half empty or half full? One-third of diners looking to adult beverages as a restaurant selection decision driver and important element of the experience is good, but I’d argue that figure could, and in fact should, be higher.
Projections for 2013 seem to be a slightly better version than 2012 for restaurants serving adult beverages: moderate growth will continue, but when inflation is factored in, what we have is a take-share environment. And as we all heard and discussed at the recent VIBE Conference, one way to take share is to sharpen the restaurant’s points of differentiation and provide the consumer a compelling reason to walk through your doors vs. the venue across the street. At a time when consumers are very interested in the stories, flavor attributes and food-friendly aspects of spirits, wine and beer, adult beverage is a prime opportunity to differentiate a restaurant concept.
How much do your consumers value your beverage program? Does it factor into their decision to visit your restaurant? Does it make them want to return? Through Technomic’s ongoing Consumer Brand Metrics study, which annually tracks how 80,000 consumers rate various attributes at specific restaurant concepts, is now following their behaviors around adult beverage, which should yield some actionable consumer insights. In this ultra-competitive environment, moving the needle on the number of consumers for whom adult beverage is a compelling part of the restaurant brand proposition can move the needle on top- and bottom-line metrics as well.