Can Beer and Food Delivery Save Restaurants?
Restaurants, even those that never relied on off-premise ordering solutions, have spent the past year opening up never-before-used revenue streams to contend with the harsh restrictions wrought to fight the pandemic. In fact, over the past year, COVID-19 has cost restaurants an average of 20-30% of their usual revenue just from stopping alcohol sales.
As a result, states all around the U.S. have loosened the rules on alcohol delivery so restaurants can sell cocktails in conjunction with regular meals. Like New Mexico and Pennsylvania, some states refused to make any exceptions for businesses that didn’t previously hold an off-premise liquor license. To determine whether your state relaxed the rules and what the new regulations are, check here for up-to-date information.
The Upsides of To-Go Cocktails
Many restaurants are just excited to gain back some lost sales. Although delivery can’t ultimately make up the difference, it’s a much-needed boost for an industry deep in one of the darkest periods they’ve had on record. With some more income padding overall revenue, you can begin to bring back some of your staff who have been temporarily or permanently laid off, like bartenders, sommeliers, and others who can help the new venture grow. Hire back some workers to handle the influx of traffic from new sales channels and take it the extra mile with creative ideas that boost the experience and require an expert’s touch.
Don’t let inventory go bad. Adding drinks to your to-go menu prevents food waste by using those new mixers and garnishes that would otherwise spoil in the intervening time until full service opens again. Reduce your food waste and save money by inventing creative ways to do away with existing excess.
As regulations surrounding COVID-19 continue changing, the threat of more closures looms interminably on the horizon, and the future of the pandemic permanently unsure, restaurants will need to adapt to whatever sales channels are available now. Beer delivery is a good place to start.
Think Outside the Box
Bars and restaurants didn’t just lose straightforward revenue when they had to close down their dining rooms and switch primarily to takeout and delivery. The atmosphere is a big part of customer service; positive customer experiences rely on great conversations with the staff, recommendations from bartenders, and an overall convivial air that encourages revelry and the purchase of more drinks. Now, restaurants are trying to find a way to drive sales on off-premise alcohol orders without that valuable tool in their arsenal.
How can they drive up takeout sales by creating a friendly and enjoyable atmosphere using delivery methods that support consumer safety?
- Cocktail kits that include mixers, garnishes, even custom stickers or branded tumblers will keep your brand fresh on their mind while giving them the tools to create a taste of your restaurant from the comfort of their own homes.
- Food and beverage pairings can boost ticket sizes as well as customer satisfaction. Hiring an expert to suggest beers or wines that go well with their dishes encourages them to buy more; you can even program suggestions into your Point of Sale as an automatic modification that pops up to sell more on average.
- Virtual happy hours can be the missing piece that fosters some of the same atmospheres that customers typically experience when they dine in. Create a unique experience by offering packages of wine and cheese deliveries weekly or a virtual meet-up with an expert sommelier to bring customers together even when they’re not together.
When crafting unique ways to increase business, every detail matters, right down to the packaging. Invest in green delivery methods that cater to the modern, eco-conscience consumer or at least in higher-grade, compartmented boxes that lower the risk of spills and ensure food arrives intact, on time, and ready to eat.
A pretty enough presentation encourages user-generated content, or UGC, where guests post about their food or experience online, which exposes you to their friend’s list and potential new customers. Creating a safe, responsible and profitable system for off-premise orders is how restaurants can take temporary permits to deliver beer, wine, and cocktails and turn it into a boon. Just make sure you’re still complying with state alcohol laws in the meantime.
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