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How to Increase Your Drink Sales without Saying a Word

A lot of my tips revolve around training your servers or bartenders to memorize information and repeat it back when needed, or to ask key questions at opportune moments. Sometimes though, words just get to be too much. Here’s a tip to increase your drink sales without having to say a single word. Read more

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5 Summertime Wine Drinks for Your Menu

Ah, summer is here. At this point, we’ve all had a few very hot days, and customers are beginning to shun even room temperature drinks in favor of ice cold ones. Tired of serving gin gimlets and beers? Here are five summertime wine drinks that’ll push those beverage sales sky high. Read more

World Class World Cup Cocktails

It’s sad that the US was eliminated from the World Cup… but that means that more people will be going out to eat again! Even though we can’t root for our own team, we can root for soccer in general, and with the sport on everyone’s minds right now, it’s a perfect time to highlight quarter-final-friendly World Cup cocktails on your menus and table tents. Here is one drink to get you started. If you think of others, please let us know about them by commenting. Read more

3 Things You Should Say to Sell More Sake

I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but I’ve got to tell you: you’re missing out on sales. Sure, your bar is selling enough beer and wine, and man, your cocktail sales are killer. But why aren’t you selling sake? Many bars don’t feel confident in selling this super-premium beverage because they don’t think they know enough to advise a customer—or to stock their own bar. All that’s about to change though, because here are the three things you and your servers need to be saying to get your sake sales going.

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Creative Garnish Ideas to Class Up Your Bar

Whether you’re a seasoned mixologist or are just starting to enter the world of premium drink garnishes, it is always a good time to come up with creative, new ideas. Updated garnishes serve to increase the perceived value of your drinks and your bar, which creates buzz, increases your sales, and draws in curious customers. No matter what you’re looking to improve in your bar, garnishes are frequently a good way to bring in some changes for the better. Here are a few tips to get you started, or, if you’ve been using standard garnishes for years, to get get you thinking about new, innovative designs. Read more

Attract More Patrons with Absinthe

Absinthe. Just breathe the name of this notorious, strong-tasting liquor, and many connotations come immediately to mind: It’s bright green. It’s illegal. It’s hallucinogenic. It can make you insane.

While all of these statements are actually false, the long-running rumors about absinthe certainly make it intriguing. Why not capitalize on that intrigue?

Here are some “do”s and “don’t”s when it comes to bringing absinthe to your bar: Read more

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How to Make Your Own Infused Alcohols

With the slow food revolution and the ever-increasing trend toward artisan / small batch / made-from-scratch consumables, craft alcohols such as infused vodkas are only continuing to rise in status. In fact, unique mixology that capitalizes on the craft alcohol trend is the hottest customer draw out there right now, so why isn’t your bar cashing in? Perhaps it’s because you don’t know where or how to start introducing more artisan items into your menu. Since I always want to help bars make more money, I’m here to get you on the right path. This is your quick and easy guide to making infused alcohols. Read more

How Can Bars and Restaurants Respond to the 2014 Lime Shortage?

 2014 is being called the year of the Great Lime Shortage, and bars and restaurants are scrambling to figure out what to do about the rising costs that have resulted. The fruit is used in popular bar foods like fish tacos, guacamole, ceviche, and Thai food, and while such items can always come off the menu for now, what’s more important to many is how the shortage threatens the fate of the margarita and the famously lime-garnished Corona.

We as a country typically consume 500,000 tons of limes every year, so there’s no way around the fact that this is going to sting. So far, bars are coping with the lime shortage in many ways, from simply breaking the news to patrons to actually offering customers deep discounts for bringing in their own bags of the fruit. Read more

What are You and Your “Non-Drinking” Patrons Doing for Each Other?

Only about half of Americans are “regular” drinkers today, and another eleven percent drink but only infrequently. In this case, “regular” is defined as twelve drinks per year or more, and “infrequent” means less than twelve.

Twelve drinks is only one drink per month on average. What this means is that even among the half of the population that drinks what can be defined as “regularly,” some of those folks are actually ordering very little alcohol.

Nonetheless, bars are great places to socialize and are central gathering spots where people get together to celebrate birthdays or simply catch up with friends. With so many other things vying for people’s time, however, once a group of friends has had a chance to talk a little, those among them who don’t do much drinking may be ready to call it a night. The company may hold their interest, but how many diet soft drinks can one person drink in one sitting, and, more importantly, how much profit is this making you?

Sugar, Sugar Everywhere, and Not a Drop Worth Drinking

There are many different reasons for being a so-called teetotaler, but health is certainly one of them, and most bars don’t exactly offer the healthiest beverage options. Once the “virgin” cocktail and soft drink options are exhausted, what’s left includes cranberry “juice,” which generally contains high fructose corn syrup, and orange juice, which still contains more sugar, albeit naturally occurring, than the health-conscious patron desires without seeming to offer much else besides vitamin C in return. Even if you keep decent tea and freshly-brewed coffee around, a lot of people swear off caffeine past morning hours, so you may be left with half of your patrons chatting up a storm but hard-pressed to think of anything on your menu worth spending money on.

Healthier Options

“Drinkers” tend to look forward to enjoying what they order, while non-drinkers feel stuck with looking for something they can tolerate. Unless they’re really thirsty, they may feel that they aren’t “getting anything” out of the limited beverage choices on the menu.

If you think past basic juices like orange, cranberry, grapefruit, and apple, however, you’ll realize that variations like pomegranate and açai, while also being high in naturally occurring sugars, have become increasingly popular in recent years due to the health-boosting antioxidants they are also said to contain. As a bar and not a health food store, the question of whether they do in fact contain healthier ingredients than orange juice is of less concern to you than whether people will want to order them, and apparently they do. Kombucha is another drink that may appeal to patrons looking to get their “health buzz” on for the evening, as are beverages containing real ginger, such as ginger beer.

Spritzers, Etc.: Another Clear Menu Choice

If keeping a variety of juices beyond standard cocktail ingredients seem like too big of a risk, there are other ways to go, too. Just offering patrons an interesting, unique, and more classy alternative to soft drinks will make your menu of nonalcoholic options stand out as well. Well-made traditional thirst-quenchers like iced tea and lemonade are good choices, and changing things up with alternatives like Moroccan mint iced tea or limeade can help make these beverages memorable for non-drinkers. Spritzers that simply combine sparkling water with a simple syrup (basil-lime, for instance) can be finished off with whatever appropriate twist you have on hand (such as a sprig of mint). Don’t leave it up to patrons to ask what you can scrounge up; put these in a special section of the menu highlighting nonalcoholic choices.

Remember, people don’t just come to bars to drink alcohol. They come to socialize – and maybe that’s all they want, but you’re not making a dime from all the talking and laughing if it’s not interspersed with some drinking. If half the population doesn’t drink much alcohol, then that’s an untapped demographic that could be earning you profits some other way, so don’t ignore them. If you put your mind to it, the nonalcoholic drinks that you serve change from a glass “half empty” to a glass completely full of possibility – for you and your patrons alike.

Coffee Prices Are Skyrocketing, Here’s What to Do

On April 25, 2014, the Financial Times reported that coffee prices had reached a “26-month high,” with bags of Arabica coffee costing an average of $2.09 per pound for wholesalers. The price hikes were due to droughts in Brazil (where much of the world’s Arabica is grown), and coffee growers warn that the bad weather is likely to affect next year’s coffee prices as well. Ouch.

As if higher prices weren’t bad enough, coffee experts are also predicting that the current supply will be unable to met demand…and that’s bad news for your business. Or is it? This article will explain coffee basics, and makes some recommendations about how your restaurant or bar can leverage the coffee price hikes to your advantage. Read more