Craft a Better Beverage Menu

Drinks are more than an add-on to a meal. Unique and specialty offerings can attract new customers and repeat visitors, and they can also increase your profit margins. See how beverages can benefit your bottom line and what varieties are gaining in popularity.

  • Many consumers, particularly millennials, are willing to pay a premium for a menu item with a compelling story or experience. Differentiating your drinks by making them in house and using new flavor combinations can make your operation stand out from the competition.
  • As consumers cut back on their soda consumption, lower-calorie options such as flavored waters and lemonades are becoming go-to refreshing, delicious drinks.
  • Think not only about the ingredients for your beverage, but also how you will serve it. Put a drink with eye-catching colors in a clear cup, glass or jar. If your drink has a unique finishing touch on top—a design of steamed milk on coffee, a fun-shaped marshmallow on hot chocolate, etc.—present the drink without a lid to show off your creation.
  • Add suggestions for drink pairings on the food menu to draw attention to the beverage menu and highlight how your offerings complement each other.
  • Beverages that are more filling or indulgent can be portable snacks or desserts. Milkshakes, for example, appeal to multiple generations of consumers, across multiple dayparts.
  • Give customers an opportunity for complete customization by asking them what their favorite flavors are and mixing a drink made especially for them.

What are the most popular items in your beverage rotation? Share with us on Facebook, and find more ways to boost your business in our Tips section.


Wolf, Barney. Drinks On the House, QSR, February 2017.
Levin, Amelia. Special Beverage Series 2017: Beverage Segment Shifts, Foodservice Equipment & Supplies, January 2017.
Craft-made specialty beverages hit the mark for millennials, Food Management, April 2017.
Whitehead, S.A. Drink it in: The growing importance of beverages on the bottom line, Fast Casual, May 2017.
Fitzpatrick, Tara. What makes the mocktail, Restaurant Hospitality, April 2017.

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