Those of us in the restaurant business know that some of the most profitable items sold in a restaurant are beverages. Beverages make up a significant part of the bottom line for nearly every restaurant from QSR to Casual Dining and even Fine Dining. So, what if restaurant owners could increase their beverage sales by 10% to 15% overnight with some simple ideas? I probably have your attention right about now.

QSR operators know the struggle they have promoting their LTO’s and other featured items. Competing for merchandising space is a daily challenge. Everyone needs to put up the POP for the new burger or taco or chicken sandwich. Operators also need to feature beverages to remind customers to buy that very profitable add-on item.

Soft drink sales are shrinking these days as tastes change and people look for alternatives like coffee-based beverages, smoothie beverages and other creative concoctions. Putting up a POP with Coke or Pepsi featured on it seems fairly old fashioned and may not be as effective as it was 10 years ago. So, the question remains “how can QSR/Fast Casual and restaurant operators effectively promote profitable beverages”?

Digital menus are popping up everywhere and they have revolutionized the QSR menu board. The capability of a digital menu is only now being explored and the industry is finding they are tremendously effective attention getters, increasing sales of featured items and presenting food items in a very appetizing fashion. Beverages are only one of the areas that operators can enjoy higher sales when implementing a digital menu strategy. A subtle video of an ice-cold smoothie in a cup with sweat dripping down the side makes the drink look so much more enticing and people will buy more of them. With the proper visual, customers may also increase the size of the beverage they purchase.

Another method of increasing beverage sales is to utilize a pre-sell board at the drive-thru. About 60% to 70% of QSR business is done at the drive-thru and it is crucial that operators squeeze every dollar of profit out of every transaction at the drive-thru. Digital pre-sell boards are extremely effective in setting the stage for the customer to make his or her purchase. Digital pre-sell boards precede the drive-thru menu board and communicate effectively to the people in the cars as they wait their turn to order. One of the significant benefits of a digital pre-sell menu at the drive-thru is the versatility and ability of these tools to change messaging. A QSR may have a new sandwich they’re introducing and want to communicate to every customer. The digital pre-sell board can do this very effectively and at the same time remind customers to order a beverage with their order. Rotating messages are very easy to program into a digital pre-sell drive-thru board.  Messages, images and photos can get lost in the drive-thru menu board and customers can get confused not knowing where to look for a specific item. Beverages are sometimes relegated to the bottom corner of the menu board which happens to be the least conspicuous place for the most profitable item. A digital pre-sell menu board brings beverages front and center to the customer well before ordering, increasing the probability the customer will order a featured drink or soft drink.

Another way to remind customers to purchase a beverage is at the very last point before they pull up to the pick-up window. Some order confirmation systems can be set to intelligently up-sell items if they aren’t ordered. If a customer orders a burger and fries, an intelligent order confirmation system will know the order is missing a beverage and suggest one with a pop-up visual. Order confirmation systems not only create higher levels of customer satisfaction by assuring customers their order was received properly but also can increase beverage incidence driving a higher ticket average and higher profits at the drive-thru.

QSR operators with the objective of increasing beverage sales (who isn’t?) should consider these three strategies:

–        Digital menu systems

–        Digital pre-sell boards at the drive-thru

–        Order confirmation systems with an up-sell feature

QSR operators looking for help with strategies to increase profits should contact Delphi Display Systems. Delphi has the most reliable solutions for QSR operators in the industry and sells to the largest brands in the world. Delphi ships products to over 50 countries around the globe and has been in business for over 18 years. Quick serve restaurants are a very specialized discipline and Delphi knows this industry well. Delphi is willing to help you define the right solution for your business. Contact a Delphi sales rep for some sales and profit building ideas today. 1-800-456-0600