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Sam Mustafa, CEO of Charleston Hospitality Group shares his insight on how to develop the perfect seasonal cocktail menu and how this implementation keeps your staff and guests engaged while making more sales.
Thinking About Incorporating A Seasonal Drink Menu?
Seasonal menus, including drink menus are a great way to engage your employees and guests. In addition, implementing these seasonal items keeps your restaurant up-to-date with consumer trends in the industry. By keeping your menus relevant and progressive to the market, your restaurant maintains a competitive advantage to competing restaurants. As you read this blog, we begin to unveil the importance of these menus and how this detail increases your company’s bottom line. These seasonal menus also support reinforcing each individual restaurant concept we have at Charleston Hospitality Group.
Every season, across all of our restaurant brands, we implement a new seasonal drink list to:
- peak our guests interest
- keep up with trends
- test new products
- and implement contests to increase our employee engagement and morale.
Our restaurant group includes Toast! All Day, Eli’s Table, Queology, JohnKing Grill and Piano Bar, and HonkyTonk Saloon. Having such a diverse portfolio of restaurants allows us to attract a wide variety of customers providing them with our mission statement of, “something for everyone!”
Peak Your Guests Curiosity
One of the first questions guests will be asked upon seating is “Were you able to check out our seasonal drink menu? What can I get you to drink?” These questions build awareness about your restaurant’s seasonal drink menu and offer an opportunity for guests to ask questions related to your menu. Guests are always looking to experience new items. Not to mention, the first thing your guest will be looking at is your drink menu to start their visit. By having a unique seasonal drink menu, you provide your guests with the impression that your restaurant is innovative and on-trend.
Try and Test New Things Out- What’s Working and What Needs Improvement?
The only way to see what is working and what can be improved starts with internal reporting. What is popular with guests? What isn’t? What is generating sales? What isn’t? By understanding these metrics, the real fun begins! This is where we experiment with new recipes that will appeal to our guests. Since, our hospitality group is composed of 5 different brands, each with their own unique concept it is important that our seasonal drink menus reinforce our concepts and their brand. For example, with our Toast All Day brand, we are known for our sweet southern specialties, variety of mimosa and exceptional hospitality. Our seasonal drink menus reinforce our branding by encompassing items that guests identify with our brand, such as Apple Cider Mimosas for Fall/ Winter seasons.
How Does a Seasonal Menu Increase Employee Engagement?
Restaurant owners and managers alike know that their employees are the first people who are looking to improve current operations. Giving your employees the first opportunity to come up with creative concepts allows your employees to engage with your restaurant on a regular basis. This provides employees with a sense of ownership with your restaurant and something they can take pride in and incorporate into their selling points to guests.
Here at Charleston Hospitality Group, we like to keep things competitive and fun. Each season, we allow our bar and management to come up with fun, new seasonal drink ideas to test out new products. If a certain menu item performs exceptionally we decide to keep it on our menu year-round. The associate who comes up with the winning drink receives a prize. Based on our Point of Sales System, we see which drink across the company generated the most amount of money and then the store is acknowledged and appreciated for their efforts. This is great for team building and providing employees with a positive and engaging work environment. When teams are excited and included in new restaurant developments, they are more likely to sell these new items to their guests with enthusiasm.
No Excuses, Get To Work!
With minimal risk and utilization of current inventory, launching a new drink menu is a no-brainer! Seasonal drink menus appeal to new customers and build intangible relationships with your restaurant’s loyal guest base by reinforcing brand concepts and generating spontaneity within the restaurant. This operation, if done efficiently, provides a foundation for increased profit margins. In addition, it creates an environment of enthusiasm and high morale with your staff members.
Sam Mustafa is the the CEO of Charleston Hospitality Group and Toast! All Day Franchise. Named one of the nation’s 100 most influential CEOs by Nation’s Restaurant News and frequent speaker on Joe Pardavila’s Podcast on ForbesBooks Radio. He has also been featured on Medium, Authority Magazine, describing his version of the American Dream. Sam is one of the leading voices in the Restaurant Industry.
1) “How to Create a Seasonal Drinks Menu.” Marco Beverage Systems Ltd., 1 Oct. 2020, marcobeveragesystems.com/how-to-create-a-seasonal-drinks-menu/.
2) “Restaurant Startup Guide.” MustHaveMenus, www.musthavemenus.com/guide/restaurant-management/restaurant-pricing-and-profits/why-should-you-have-a-drink-menu.html.
3) Goodman Fielder Food Service. “Benefits of Changing Your Menu Seasonally.” Goodman Fielder Food Service, www.gffoodservice.com.au/idea/benefits-of-changing-menus/.
4) Selin. “Benefits of Using a Seasonal Menu.” Finedine Tablet Menu for Restaurants, 26 Jan. 2018, blog.finedinemenu.com/benefits-using-seasonal-menu/.