3 reasons why you should offer a mocktail menu at your restaurant or bar

Editorial Team

4 min read
Two margaritas with limes

A new trend is taking the food and beverage industry by storm. It’s a booming billion-dollar industry, and Forbes has called it “the biggest trend in bars.” That trend? Non-alcoholic drinks.

If you own a restaurant or bar, it’s likely already on your radar. You might have noticed that more customers are requesting mocktails. Or your revenue from alcoholic drinks might have taken a hit during “Dry January.” If so, you’re not alone—in Los Angeles, 83% of surveyed bar managers agree that no-proof drinking is part of a growing trend.

Whether it has been on your mind or not, here are three big reasons why restaurants and bars should jump on this opportunity to develop a great mocktail menu.

1. Increase your revenue potential

From a business perspective, offering more non-alcoholic options is a no-brainer. According to a study by Distill Ventures, there was a 315% increase in non- and low-alcoholic drink sales from 2020 to 2021—compare that with the 26% increase in alcoholic drink sales over the same period. 

Much of that growing revenue can be attributed to an emerging industry of “spirit replacements,” non-alcoholic spirits that can be swapped out with alcoholic ones in a one-to-one ratio. These replacements are designed to mimic the flavor and experience of existing cocktails but without the same physical effects.

Temporary abstainers love spirit replacements because they can keep the ritual and social aspects of drinking. And because they are made with specialty ingredients, the cost of a spirit-free mocktail is comparable to an alcoholic cocktail. This means that during periods like Dry January, restaurants or bars can easily replace revenue that would have been lost. Along with retaining revenue, bars and food establishments also have an opportunity to bring in—and keep—new customers that might have otherwise stayed home.

READ: Happy hour overhaul: Rethinking your drink special (Part 1)

2. Inclusivity means more loyal customers

Dry January isn’t the only way that “temporary abstainers” are taking a break from alcohol. Abstainers also include pregnant people, folks who are chronically ill, designated drivers, and those in recovery. Many millennials and Gen Z consumers are simply sober-curious, part of a new sobriety movement that is looking to incorporate healthier habits. And nearly a third of all Americans don’t drink at all

At the same time, people love the atmosphere that drinking offers, whether that means a local bar, an upscale lounge, or a restaurant that matches drinks with cuisine. When you create a proof-free drink menu, it’s a sign that your business welcomes people who have decided not to drink, for whatever reason. And when you show your customers that they can still enjoy the atmosphere your establishment offers, they may just return the favor by becoming loyal customers.

3. Functional ingredients are trending

While many consumers choose to order spirit-free drinks for the health benefits of abstaining, some consumers are also looking for functional ingredients. These ingredients claim to provide additional effects like mood enhancing, immunity boosting, and digestive aids, and they include adaptogens, nootropics, caffeine, vitamins, and CBD, among others. In California, as much as 92% of surveyed non-alcoholic drink consumers said that they were open to functional ingredients

If functional ingredients aren’t your thing, you can still create a high-quality experience in other ways. Consider sourcing from local providers and creating a seasonal menu to match. Take the time to experiment with unexpected flavors, and use herbs, savories, and salts to create more interesting and complex drinks. With apps like BarPro that integrate with Clover’s restaurant point-of-sale system (POS), it makes it easier to customize options with a variety of ingredients. And for an easy menu add-on, you could offer any number of new and innovative ready-to-drink options currently on the market. 

The goal is simple: keep the vibe of your restaurant or bar, but offer your guests the option to enjoy the experience alcohol free. 

If you’re interested in learning how Clover’s bar POS system can help your establishment grow, contact a Clover Business Consultant today.


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