Our last post discussed some of the educational programs at this year’s NCB Show. Successful Beverage Management —Proven Strategies for the On-Premise Operator, was presented by Jack Robertiello, and Robert Plotkin, editors for Nightclub and Bar Magazine, and Drinks Ink and BarMedia, respectively.
The single hottest topic from the week was the importance of creating a custom cocktail menu, and what consumers are looking to get out of the experience.
A few take home statistics were surprising, and are as follows:
- 88% of customers read the drink menu. If you don’t have one, you’re hurting your bottom line.
- 58% of customers want the bar menu to stay on the table at all times.
- 81% want drink prices on the menu.
- 68% want to read cocktail descriptions.
- 48% want pictures of their drinks.
Word to the wise – “coconut rum and pineapple juice on the rocks” is NOT a description. Plotkin strongly emphasized how important it is to ‘romance’ the copy, and if you aren’t sure how to do it, hire a bartender that likes to write, or better yet, and experienced cocktail consultant, and watch your cocktail drink orders skyrocket.
Some additional data on ‘functional descriptions’ (like coconut rum and pineapple!) vs. romance copy yielded staggering results.
When ‘functional cocktail menu descriptions’ were presented to consumers:
- 47% ordered house brands
- 31% of orders were top shelf
- 22% ordered ultra premium
With the romance cocktail menu copy added, here’s how the orders changed:
- 33% house brands
- 31% top shelf
- But 36% went to ultra premium, dramatically increasing sales, and overall customer satisfaction!
When prices were added to these same menus, the shift was only about 5%, with sales moving to top shelf brands.
So what does all of this means for your bar or restaurant venue? And what should you do once you’ve created a great cocktail menu?
- Leave the menu on the table.
- Challenge your bartenders to cross-promote, and up their skill sets to be more creative!
- Encourage staff to educate consumers with suggestive sales. The next time they ask what your well gin is, think about making it better than your competition across the street. Your customers will thank you for keeping them from making the wrong decision.
- Techniques matter! Handshaking drives sales, and creates ‘noise’ in the bar that shows your staff has talent. Muddling is a high production value-quality vs. quantity creates loyalty, as well as improving the final product.
- Last but not least, get your bar staff to slow down. No one really wants to drink (or pay for) something that only took you three seconds to make.
Have you found this post to be helpful? Write us a comment (venues at cravelocal dot com), or better yet, share it with your colleagues.
Here’s to building a better bar!