The addition of alcohol to your pickup and delivery menu is a great way to increase your revenue. Cocktails, beer, and wine are high margin ticket items that help move inventory and increase food sales. We’ve collected a range of ideas from simple to sophisticated to help you get started.Download a PDF
Long shelf life, lower labor costs, and large markups make alcohol a surefire way for restaurants to increase their profit margin. Losing alcohol as a part of the menu drastically reduces a restaurant’s revenue potential by as much as 25% percent. And that’s on top of the drop in consumer demand with shelter-in-place laws spanning across North America.
Now that many states have relaxed alcohol delivery and takeout laws, there are a lot of good reasons to add alcohol to your menu.Not only does it increase your check size—especially since most states require the purchase of food with alcohol—but it’s also a great way to unload any excess alcohol inventory from canceled events, like St. Patrick’s Day.
What types of alcohol is your local government allowing restaurants and bars to sell? Some places only allow beer and wine, while others allow liquor and pre-mixed cocktails.
Do you need to sell food with alcohol? Sometimes how much you sell will be limited to a certain percentage of the total bill. Other times, you must sell at least one item of prepared food with the alcohol.
Are there specific times of day you can (and cannot) sell alcohol?
How does the alcohol need to be packaged? Does it need to be in the original container, or just a separate sealed container?
Laws around alcohol-to-go programs vary by state and province.Generally, if your local government does allow alcohol to-go, customers must purchase the product with the sale of food, in addition to the boozy beverage being sold in a sealed container. You can find what states and provinces allow for the sale of alcohol to-go here, but make sure to visit your local government’s website for more details.OS.
There are many different ways for a restaurant or bar to get started selling alcohol, but finding the right solution for your establishment will largely depend on what your local government allows.
The fastest solution is to add pre-packaged beer and wine to your menu. Allow your customers to purchase single cans or to buy in bulk. Some restaurants are getting creative by having customers mix and match their own six packs, or even setting up wine and beer subscriptions. Earl’s is a change throughout North America selling beer & wine takeaway.
If your local government allows pre-opened alcohol, you can continue to sell your signature cocktails like Dante in NYC. Just make sure these cocktails are transported in a sealed container, like mason jars. This article talks about picking a cocktail that travels well.
Make delivery worth it by selling alcohol in larger quantities, like Run for the Roses in Denver, CO. You can buy a single serve cocktail, or in a larger batch with up to six servings.
Encourage the purchase of alcohol by creating custom food and drink pairings. Show your customers which type of wine goes well with a specific pasta dish, or what beer you would recommend with their burger. Take it to the next level by creating kits, like The Happy Camper Basic Survival Kit. This kit includes a 12 variety pack of Basic Hard Seltzer, 2 Medium 14in. Pizzas (choose two of any of their specialty pizzas and write your choices in the notes), aBoat of Ranch, a Boat of Cookie Dough and, as an added bonus, a roll of toilet paper.
If your local laws prohibit pre-mixed cocktails, you can still sell cocktails by creating a DIY cocktail kit. Nue in Seattle sells their unique cocktail kits, and then shares instructional videos on how to make them at home right on their website.
Happy Hour promotions are a great way to let people know that you are now offering alcohol, and in a way, that brings a sense of familiarity in unfamiliar times. By setting specific promotional hours, this also encourages folks to order food outside of the typical dinner rush. Root’s Pizza in Chicago offers half off beer, wine, and white claw from 3 to 6 pm.
For many customers, buying cocktails to-go is a new experience.It’s important to let your customers know that they can not only buy alcohol from your restaurant, but also how they can use the products.
Meet your customers where they are to showcase new offerings.For many customers, ordering alcohol for takeout and delivery isa new idea, so it’s important to remind them of the possibility, as well as keeping your restaurant top of mind. See this example from Daisies in Chicago who shared photos of their Bloody MaryCocktail Kit on Instagram to encourage more customer orders.
Your website should be your main hub for all of the information your customers need to know about your service during shelter in-place. Feature what alcoholic beverages they can order, how they can order it, and any legal requirements that come with ordering alcohol.
Park and Field changed their homepage to feature how their services changed because of shelter-in-place laws. The first thing the customer sees is a pop-up with their phone number to place direct orders, bypassing 3rd party delivery service fees.The homepage also features what beer and wine is available for delivery or pickup.
Make sure customers know that they will be required to show a valid ID when they pick up their order, or have it delivered, and any additional laws or age verifications your local government may require. For example, clearly outline to your customers which specific items are only available for pickup, and how the items must be transported back to their homes. You can do this in the item description through your 3rd party delivery app, or by updating your menu on your website.
The Four Horseman in Brooklyn set up a specific COVID-19 online store to sell alcohol, chips, and merchandise. They even made a fun video explaining their offerings and how the customer can get the alcohol (it’s pickup only, and you have to buy chips).