Spirits is the fastest-growing category in the on-premise market, according to the soon-to-be-released 2015 BarTAB Report. Savvy restaurant beverage professionals are looking to their drink menus to capitalize on the appeal of cocktail, sipping, and shot selections. However, the trend towards smaller, more focused restaurant menus is expanding, and we’re tracking a decline in adult beverage items on leading restaurant chain menus through our MenuMonitor tool.
Today’s beverage program directors are challenged to do more with less. Drink menus must leverage spirits trends, satisfy consumer demands for variety and quality, and present a compelling and differentiated drink offering. One area that provides ample opportunity to accomplish those goals is signature or specialty cocktails.
Restaurant originals hold the largest share of drink menus (19%), but have not been earning more menu space in the past year. BartTAB reveals that more consumers, and particularly younger consumers, now say adult beverage offerings play an important role in the where-to-dine decision and the overall experience. What’s more, two-thirds of Millennials order restaurant originals at least once a month, and nearly half say it’s important that restaurants and bars offer signature cocktails they can’t get elsewhere (according to our On-Premise Bar Mixers study). Differentiation through original cocktails – and even shooters – and showcasing these unique drinks on menus can increase traffic and guest satisfaction among these key consumers.