Years ago, beverages were an afterthought at most restaurants: a cheap soft drink to wash down your burger or a mediocre cup of coffee to slug with your grab-and-go sandwich. Times have changed, and today’s customer expects more when they order a beverage from a restaurant or café – in fact, they expect their beverage to be just as noteworthy as the food they purchase. In the crowded and competitive foodservice market, craft beverages are an excellent way to drive increased revenue and help your business stand out from the pack.
Shying away from offering craft beverages on your menu may not only impact your beverage sales, but also overall sales as customers choose to purchase food and drink from establishments that offer the best of both worlds.
Here are a few reasons you should consider adding craft beverages to your menu for growth, customer retention and profitability.
The Craft Market is Growing
Millennials constitute the largest buying population in foodservice and of ready-to-drink beverages, and this group is willing to pay more for quality and experience. Millennial customers are largely responsible for the growing and thriving craft beer market that we have witnessed in recent years, and the desire for variety, taste, experimentation and adventure crosses over into every beverage purchase they make.
According to recent research, craft beverage sales are swiftly on the rise:
- The current $38B global craft beer market is forecast to grow at a CAGR of 14.1 percent by 2023;
- The craft spirits market, which is newer to the scene, is expected to grow at a CAGR of 33.4 percent by 2025, reaching $80.43B;
- Trendy new non-alcoholic beverages like kombucha are forecast to become a $5.45B market, growing at a CAGR of 23 percent by 2025;
- And the cold brew coffee market is positioned to continue growing at a CAGR of 24.6 percent over the next five years.
Cold brew coffee, a favorite of discerning coffee drinkers, has seen consumption rise 425 percent over the past four years alone, making it an essential menu item that any restaurant or café should seriously consider adding to their lineup.
The Competition is Fierce
Craft beverages are no longer considered a special occasion purchase, thanks to increased demand from customers who expect everything they consume to be exceptional, and greater availability of quality beverages at a variety of establishments. Everyone from quick-serve powerhouses to fine-dining establishments now offer high-quality craft beverages, often made in-house, on their menus.
Cold brew coffee can be found everywhere from fast food chains like McDonald’s to high-end coffee shops like Blue Bottle. House-made kombucha is served at award-winning restaurants like The Herb Farm in Seattle and offered on tap at small, independent juice shops and yoga studios across the country.
Shying away from offering craft beverages on your menu may not only impact your beverage sales, but also overall sales as customers choose to purchase food and drink from establishments that offer the best of both worlds. It is no longer acceptable to be a restaurant where “the food is great, but the coffee is awful.”
The Risk is Low
The good news behind the trend toward craft beverages is that upping your beverage game is a relatively easy and low-risk move. Beverages have always been a high profit margin item on restaurant and café menus, and that remains the case with craft beverages. While it may cost your business slightly more to purchase higher-quality ingredients or products, consumers also expect to pay more for homemade kombucha or small-batch spirits, meaning that your margins are still strong.
Even better, creating these beverages in-house is easier than ever before. If you have a culinary creative on your staff, a little experimenting can help you develop an amazing original beverage recipe. Commercial appliances like the PicoBrew Z Series eliminate much of the guesswork and allow you to scale production to meet growing demand.
With no end in sight to the rise of craft, it’s time to get more thoughtful and creative with your beverage offerings.