Cheers May 2016

Cheers is dedicated to delivering hospitality professionals the information, insights and data necessary to drive their beverage business by covering trends and innovations in operations, merchandising, service and training.

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Page 32 of 51 33 May 2016 • C hain restaurants sometimes get a bad rap for being followers rather than leaders. It can be harder for them to be innovative, as operating multiple locations across the country poses its challenges with standardizing wine lists, beer offerings and cocktail menus. But many chains across the country are testing and implementing new products, equipment and tactics to produce something extraordinary for the guest. This makes sense from a business standpoint: Drink costs run about 18%, while food costs run anywhere from 20% to 45%, says Palm Springs, CA- based menu engineer Gregg Rapp. "Remember, 70% of customers don't know what they are going to have to drink," Rapp says. "It's a huge opportunity to help them fi nd their new favorite drink." Here's a look at a few chains that have recently introduced some new beverage items and strategies. TUPELO HONEY CAFÉ TUNES INTO TAPS Scratch-made comfort food chain Tupelo Honey Café is extending its draft beverage program to offer a minimum of 40 taps—and as many as 55 at locations in cities with a strong craft- beer following. This is a far cry from the 12-unit, Asheville, NC-based concept's original restaurants, which offered just eight taps. But it's a fast way to increase revenue since the ROI is almost immediate, says beverage director Tyler Alford. "By having more taps, we increase the number of options to the guest," he says. "But more taps also increases the revenue for beverage, and the percentage of beverage to food as a mix, which is the ultimate goal. We want to sell more quality drinks that make an immediate impact on the bottom line and keep HOW SOME CHAIN OPERATORS ARE IMPROVING THEIR DRINK PROGRAMS By Amanda Baltazar " 7 0 % OF CUSTOMERS DON'T KNOW WHAT THEY ARE GOING TO HAVE TO DRINK...IT'S A HUGE OPPORTUNITY TO HELP THEM FIND THEIR NEW FAVORITE DRINK." — Gregg Rapp, Palm Springs, CA-based menu engineer

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