Speed and efficiency are at the heart of every restaurant and bar. The sooner you serve the customers' needs, the sooner you can get them out the door and get a new group in. However, rushing too much – especially when you could be improving customer satisfaction – can be a costly mistake. For example, think about your fountain selections. Do your customers really know what you have to offer? If they don’t, you're missing a key opportunity.
What’s the Concern in Your Location?
Are you getting the most out of your fountain drink sales? With today’s consumer looking for more options or “something different”, restaurants and bars need to up the beverage options they offer to meet that demand. But while management easily recognizes the value of doing this, a problem exists when the server doesn’t offer the options. How many of your customers are walking out of the door after a meal without knowing what you have available?
Visibility and Transparency Are Essential to Consumers
Today’s consumer doesn’t seek out a menu to choose a drink. Often asked immediately upon entering the establishment and sitting down what they would like to drink, most never see a large selection of options to choose from. Yet consumers need and want to know what you have to offer so they can choose something unique and interesting. Consider a table tent highlighting your fountain options, or point each guest to the special beverage section on your menu. Visibility is key.
How Can You Increase Your Fountain Drink Sales?
Fountain drink sales are a key component to most profit-and-loss statements. Offering beverage options that appeal to a variety of taste buds increases the likelihood that your visitors will choose something. Since you have plenty of beverage options to offer and consumers want them, the problem lies in the failure to communicate those options.
Restaurants and bars must be upfront with what drinks are available at their location. Be clear about the wide variety of options on the menu. If your customers are not fully aware of what’s available, they cannot choose something that boosts your bottom line.
See each visit as an opportunity to upsell. For example, when a customer comes in and says they want water to drink, give them options. “Sure! Would you like sparkling, enhanced, or tap?” This opens the door about the beverage options on the menu. It also increases the upselling opportunity that’s so important in today’s restaurant environment. Another way to handle the "I'll have water order is by replying, "No problem. I'll bring the entire table water as a starter. Today I'm sharing my favorite iced tea with tables and encouraging everyone to try something new!" Make water a simple step in your table service, and give guests the opportunity to explore the options.
Finding a way to clearly indicate your options doesn’t have to be difficult. Rather, it starts with educating your servers so they offer more options. Instead of saying, “We have Pepsi products,” have your servers offer a selection of unique fountain drinks, including those that your customers may not be knowledgeable about. "We have Pepsi products which include Mug Rootbeer and Orange Crush, plus several non-soda and non-carbonated options including ..."
Analyze your fountain selection. Look at your current fountain drink sales, and learn which products you offer aren't selling well. Instead of cutting these potentially high-yield and profit-boosting options, look for ways to build their visibility on the menu. Promoting your entire selection may mean creating a menu of options. Start by encouraging your staff's one-on-one conversations with your customers as the focal point of upselling opportunities.
Why Does It Matter?
Upselling boosts profits, of course. However, there are other key benefits to offering your consumers more transparency regarding the options you offer. Doing so encourages your customers to take a closer look at your beverage options each time they step in the door. That can provide an opportunity to increase your fountain drink sales while also keeping your customers happy as you brand yourself as the location with something new and interesting to offer.