To-go cocktails, or carryout cocktails, have become one of the fastest-growing foodservice trends that came from necessity due to the COVID-19 pandemic. With many restaurants turning to takeout and delivery options to help generate revenue, to-go cocktails have now become a staple and instant favorite among customers and restaurant operators alike. While the concept of to-go cocktails seems pretty straightforward, there are a few key points to keep in mind before adding them to your quarantine-friendly menu.
Here is a quick guide to help get you started on serving to-go cocktails.
Know Your State’s Liquor Laws Before Proceeding
Before you start to sell cocktails to-go, it’s important that you brush up on your state’s local liquor laws. While many states are updating their liquor laws to include to-go cocktails and other alcoholic beverages, you should know what your limits and parameters are so that you stay well within the law and are able to still hold your liquor license.
Additionally, you should take necessary precautions if you are offering to-go cocktails for delivery. See what your state recommends for handling alcohol, and if you partner with a third-party delivery service, check what their protocols are for delivering alcohol. If you are unsure or uncomfortable with anything, it’s always best to err on the side of caution.
Convert Best-Sellers and Classics for Takeout
Is your restaurant or bar known for a signature drink, or have you perfected a classic? As you more than likely have done with your food menu, you should prioritize which of your best-selling cocktails should be converted for carryout. Not only will your customers thank you for making their favorite(s) available for takeout, but the cocktails will help generate additional revenue.
Not only that, but serving to-go versions of your tried and true cocktails are an easy way to transition to this format, as you know the cost, ingredients, pricing and labor that goes into them.
Create New Cocktails to Offer Customers
Another option is to create new, unique cocktails that are takeout-friendly, especially if you can only obtain certain ingredients at this time. This is a great way to revamp or simplify existing cocktail recipes to offer for to-go, or to come up with fun—perhaps even themed—drinks to add to your menu.
Make To-Go Cocktail Kits
Not only are to-go cocktail kits easy to put together, but they’re a fun, interactive way for your customers to make crafted drinks from the comfort of their own home. Cocktail kits also ensure that customers are getting the freshest possible cocktail, and gives them the opportunity to share and, ultimately, promote your restaurant on social media. You can even upload videos to your restaurant or bar’s social media profiles that walk the viewers through on how to make their own signature drink by using your kit.
If you go this route, there are some important notes to keep in mind:
- Include each ingredient: Make sure all necessary ingredients are included to avoid any confusion.
- Instructions should be user-friendly: It’s important to remember that not everyone is a trained bartender, so the instructions that are included in your to-go cocktail kits need to be clear, concise, and user-friendly.
Once you have the foundation down, you’re ready to start selling your cocktail kits!
Bottle Up House-Made Liquor or Beer
If your restaurant produces a special house-made spirit, infusion or beer, this is the perfect time to offer it to your quarantining customers. This allows your regulars to grab their favorites so they can make their own cocktails and support your business. Stay connected to your customers by sharing cocktails they can use it in, or meal pairings for that maximum flavor experience.
Additionally, you can include mini bottles of your home-brewed concoctions in cocktail kits.
Pair To-Go Cocktails with Meals for a Package Deal
A great way to upsell a cocktail is to pair it with a to-go meal as a packaged offer. This way, you can pair drinks with a meal that compliments the flavor profile, make ordering easier for your customers, and generate additional revenue. You can theme these meal and cocktail combos like “Dinner & Drinks for Two” or “The Quarantine Special,” and make for a quick, easy dinner, lunch or even brunch option.
No matter what you choose, to-go cocktails keep you relevant and active in the community your establishment has fostered, which is especially important right now. And, who knows? This could be a great opportunity to generate new ideas for your restaurant during these times.