The Soft Sell
It’s a fact that in hospitality and catering, customers like to have a drink – be that by itself, with a snack or as part of a meal. And consumer tastes are shifting. There’s an ever growing desire for a drinking or dining experience to have a premium feel. The proof of that can be seen in the extraordinary growth in sales of top quality teas and coffees, premium beers, ciders and spirits, innovative and exciting food options and use of top quality food ingredients.
So it’s vital for operators to have drinks offerings that cater for the tastes of every customer. If they don’t, custom will quickly head somewhere else and real profit potential will be lost. One area that’s generating lots of excitement is the world of soft drinks – driven by the fact that the profile of drinkers is changing.
“Research shows that over 60% of consumers want to see an increased range of soft drinks targeted at adults – including healthy and premium options, as they provide a great alternative to alcohol,” said Jamie Nascimento head of marketing at LR Suntory.
Irrespective of where you are in the hospitality and catering sector, if you sell soft drinks you need to have a range of attractively presented soft drinks that taste good too.
Bring in top quality variants
– Glass bottled sparkling waters and drinks like Britvic J2O’s Spritz range of Apple & Watermelon, Peach & Apricot and Pear & Raspberry have real adult appeal and go well with food too.
Have healthier options
– Britvic’s Purdey’s counts as 1 of your 5 a day and has real fridge appeal. Or there are the Schweppes Sparkling Juices that have the lowest kcal in the market – they taste fantastic too!
Offer diet and no sugar options
– As the fastest growing category within soft drinks it’s vital you have a range that includes diet and zero sugar options. MacB’s flavoured waters, Feel Goods 275ml glass bottle, 7Up’s new Mojito and the Robinsons range are great examples.
Look out for new releases
– Brands are increasingly launching limited edition and seasonal soft drinks that help arouse curiosity and sales. They’re also making available additional flavours in on-trade friendly formats, as can be seen with Lucozade’s launch of a 330ml glass bottle range of original, pink lemonade and orange, so watch out for these.
And if you’ve customers drinking on your premises, you should maximise the profit potential of soft drinks by:
– Having a range of soft drink mocktails – either individual or in sharing pitchers. Tate & Lyle and Teisseire syrups make brilliant bases for a whole range of cocktails and mocktails.
– Offering something new alongside your premium spirits. For example, Purdey’s with gin goes brilliantly and the bottle draws attention, creating interest and demand.
– Using fruit garnishes and plenty of ice to make your soft drink offerings look special.
– Having stemmed and dedicated glassware for adults and something off the wall for kids. How about offering Lipton’s ice teas in sterilised jam jars for instance? Jar + ice + decoration + straw = something the kids will love!
– Looking at offering frozen drinks – Vimto has free on loan equipment so you can sell their Starslush – an iced slush drink with real fruit juice, that ticks the healthier drink box, and Burrrst carbonated slush, in Vimto, Blue Raspberry and Levi Roots Caribbean Crush. Great for impulse sales!
– Stocking limited edition soft drinks and promoting them as ‘Try before they die’ options. Generate curiosity and interest.
– Having food menu suggestions – for example no added sugar drinks and mocktails highlighted on kids menus.
– Giving value for money. £3 for a pint glass of cordial with tap water and a couple of ice cubes is not going to encourage repeat sales. A tall glass of cordial and soda, complete with fresh ice, straws and a fruit garnish keeps customers happy and the till busy with repeat sales!
– Percentage of the UK population that are teetotal? 20% and rising
– 2015 value increase in Licensed and Leisure Sector of soft drink sales 6.6%
– 2015 rise in premium soft drinks sales in the on-trade? 75%
– Percentage of mixers that are drunk straight? 51%
These figures show that creating an attractive soft drinks offering for your business is vital, so you can draw in the ever-increasing number of people looking for thirst quenching refreshment when out of home – especially during the summer months. And it’s not just kids and drivers.
And tell the world about what you’ve on offer!
• Shout about your range on dedicated soft drinks menus, blackboards and through POS.
• Have offers – for example a soft drink and snack promotion.
• Offer pitchers of soft drink mocktails – great for families and easy to prepare and serve too, so saves on staff time.
• Get your on shelf and in fridge display organised and take advantage of deals from suppliers. There are counter
top chillers available for Orangina’s new Original and Light 250ml bottles for instance.
• Use POS – to announce new products, promotions and your complete range of soft drinks. There’s a new Coca-Cola for example – ‘Zero Sugar’. Challenge your customers to taste the difference – and be healthy too!
• Get your staff involved! Have a monthly cocktail devised by a team member, and promote it as such. At the end of the year, the most popular seller wins the title ‘Soft drink mixologist 2016’.
CLICK for cocktail recipes