Whether it be a specialty, limited-time cocktail or a once-a-week offer, restaurants that get creative with beverage specials stand to boost sales by incentivizing customers to order more and stick around longer.
“At the end of the day, people are always curious about specials so I believe that they are a must,” says Carlos Ruiz, head bartender of the soon-to-open SOMOS Latin Kitchen & Bar in North Arlington, New Jersey. Just make sure it matches the restaurant in theme, he warns. Beverage experts share the deals that did well.
Earlier this year, Hudson Hotel’s Library Bar in New York City offered a Harry Potter-inspired cocktail menu that created quite a buzz, says Cristine Faunce, food and beverage manager. “The strong tie in with the bar’s essence and fanbase of the stories drew crowds for some time after the announcement of the menu, and we still have guests and folks around town asking for the inspired libations,” she says.
For Brimstone Woodfire Grill in Doral, Florida, one of its most successful drink specials—the Coconut Island Mojito—was the result of an informal customer survey. The creator of the mojito-pina colada hybrid asked what restaurants and bars customers liked to go to and what types of drinks grab their attention. “Taking the time to find out who our customer is and what that customer actually wants helped make this drink special wildly popular,” says Gio Celona, general manager.
For ROK:BRGR with four locations in Florida, a regular Bottomless Brunch deal has brought crowds every Saturday and Sunday—positioning weekend days to be the highest grossing —for the past seven years. “It has been our most successful and longest-running drink promotion to date,” says Marc Falsetto, CEO of J.E.Y. Hospitality which owns ROK:BRGR. “The unlimited option delivers really good value to the consumer.”