Boost Your Beverage Program for 2018

These resources can help restaurants prepare drink menus for a new year.

Beverage programs offer restaurants some of the highest profit margins in the industry and can be a key factor in where customers decide to eat. Coca-Cola’s 2016 “Away From Home Beverage Landscape Study” found that consumers actually choose which restaurants they frequent based on beverage selections 45 percent of the time. Whether a brand is serving alcoholic or non-alcoholic beverages, consumers are no longer content with standard offerings and have been gravitating toward specialty drinks and are likely to continue doing so in 2018.

The National Restaurant Association’s 2017 “What’s Hot” food trends say that craft and artisan sprits, culinary cocktails, and regional signature cocktails are all on trend, while house-made soft drinks, gourmet lemonades, specialty iced teas, locally roasted coffees, and cold brew coffee are all popular non-alcoholic choices.

It is crucial for restaurants to offer wide varieties of craft and signature beverages to help them compete in a crowded restaurant market. These vendor partners can help restaurants design innovative beverage menus and stay ahead of competition.

Blueberry Honey Bee Cocktail by Pretty In Pistachio

1. U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council

With craft cocktails and mocktails driving traffic and sales, more and more operations are using real fruit as a way to take their beverages to the next level. “Blueberries are a dynamic fruit,” says Napa Valley Mixologist Shawn Smith. “They can give a drink dimension and add a ‘cool factor’ that appeals to consumers, while being a familiar favorite that can lead to an order.” From pureed to pickled, muddled to torched, blueberries can liven up any beverage program, from smoothies and juices to mocktails and cocktails.

Kelvin Slush Co.

2. Kelvin Slush Co.

Kelvin Slush Co. is the only certified organic cocktail mix designed to quickly and easily make premium frozen cocktails. Using Kelvin’s six organic base flavors, you can craft almost any cocktail in frozen form—a margarita, frozen negroni, frosé, and beyond. Kelvin collaborates with bars and restaurants across the U.S. and Canada to create custom, premium frozen cocktails that are unique, sophisticated, and made from high quality all-natural ingredients. “Kelvin Slush makes execution super simple, but the final product is complex, sophisticated, and delicious,” says John Trockel, GM of restaurants at Eataly. “The frosé quickly became our most popular cocktail.” All Kelvin products are USDA Organic, non-GMO, vegan, gluten-free, kosher, and made in the USA.

Wilbur Curtis

3. Curtis

The Curtis G4 ThermoPro makes Golden Cup quality batch brewing instantly easy. This unit quickly brews gourmet coffee into 1-1/2 gallon high-tech vacuum-insulated, stainless steel servers. It provides precise control over all critical brewing functions, and keeps coffee quality and flavor consistently delicious. ThermoPro servers offer unsurpassed heat retention and keep coffee fresh at the perfect serving temperature with no need for additional heat. Available in single and twin brew head models, the innovative system delivers user-friendly operation, and flexibility.

By offering innovative beverages, restaurants can better appeal to consumers and drive sales. Try some creative menu additions and reach out to vendor partners for support.