Not all patrons’ palates are created equal. Novice drinkers may be cautious about trying something new, while those looking for adventure may not know where to begin. To remedy this, Arlington, Va.-based Interstate Hotels & Resorts management team, working alongside Patrick Henry Creative Promotions created the Cocktails menu, which invites guests to choose flavor combinations that match their taste preferences.
The Cocktails menu is designed with a tab system, making navigating easy. Guests simply look for the vodka, gin, rum, tequila, bourbon, beer, white wine and red wine tabs, and from there, choose what flavors and spirits interest them. One look at the vodka section has imbibers choosing anything from the Speakeasy Special (ABSOLUT Vodka, white cranberry juice and fresh cucumber) described as "crisp, fresh and fruity" or the "fresh and tart" Cherry Smash (Stolichnaya Vodka muddled with fresh lemon juice and cherries). Flip to the Bourbon section, and guests can enjoy the "surprsingly sweet and balanced" Bourbon, Honey? (Jack Daniel's Tennessee Whiskey with fresh orange juice, honey and grenadine). The options are endless. Though flavors and cocktails are unique, the standout on this new menu is the Quick Response (QR) Codes that appear on featured beverages. Guests are able to download drink recipes and photos just by snapping a picture of the code with their smartphones.
To find out the inspiration behind this new menu, VIBE spoke with Bradley Moore, director of food & beverage operations of Interstate Hotels & Resorts, who explained why Cocktails is sure to reach a fever pitch with imbibing guests.
VIBE: What was your inspiration for this new Cocktails menu? What does the menu look like?
Bradley Moore: The inspiration for this menu was to cater to our guests’ drink preferences by deconstructing the spirit types and flavor profiles of each featured cocktail.The menu resembles an old spy notebook with the aged feel of the background and detailed cocktail drawing on the opening page. Each section of the menu features one featured cocktail photo. In addition, there is a photo placed next to each drink description to highlight the drink’s flavor profile.
VIBE: How is the menu organized?
Moore: The menu is organized by spirit type, which is called out with a tab for each spirit. For each spirit type, there are five or six cocktails made with that particular spirit, in a range of flavor varieties. For each cocktail a traditional drink description is shown along with an additional three- to six-word flavor description and photo to represent the cocktail's flavor.
VIBE: How will your staff educate guests about the menu?
Moore: The menu is extremely user friendly, and we feel as though our staff and guests will be able to locate a guest’s preferred drink type with much more ease than in the past. The new Cocktails menu allows our staff to ask guests for their preferred spirit type and their preferred flavor choice, and they can easily make recommendations from the menu.
VIBE: When handed an innovative drink menu like this, are guests more inclined to ask and learn more about the cocktails?
Moore: Our cocktail menus are developed with the guest in mind and we try to offer them an interesting/valuable amount of information through the beverage menu. With the new Cocktails menu we offer guests the opportunity to easily find their preferred cocktail type and also provide them a method for learning more about featured drinks.
In each section of the menu the featured/photographed cocktail also has a QR [Quick Response] Code displayed on the page. Guests can click the QR Code with a smartphone, and pull up the featured drink’s photo, recipe and suggestions for making the drink at home. The featured QR Codes in the menu function as a benefit to guests by creating an interactive experience with the menu but also by allowing them access to information about the drink making technique.
VIBE: What made you consider using Quick Response (QR) Codes on the menu?
Moore: We are in an age of instant gratification and our guests are used to experiencing highly personalized levels of service through technology. The organization of the menu, as well as the use of QR Codes is intended to provide guests with the level of service/information that they have become accustomed.
The menu has been well received by guests, and we’ve been surprised by how many guests are using the QR tags that are outside of the 20-year-old set.
VIBE: What’s been the reaction from guests? From bartenders?
Moore: The reaction from bartenders has been good as the menu format makes it easier not only for guests to get their preferred spirit type, but also for the bartenders to make drink recommendations to guests.