A rising trend in restaurants across the US is that of drinks-only visits. Taking advantage of the higher profitability of drinks in comparison to food orders, the array of quirky drinks on offer in restaurants also lures in more customers during the traditionally low traffic hours of 13:00 to 15:00.
Drinks-only maintaining foot traffic
In a report conducted by US consumer and retail market research firm NPD Group, this window is now a peak period for beverage-only service, with this kind of restaurant visit on the rise. The study revealed that over a 12-month period ending in June 2012, restaurant visits that had both food and drink orders were down 2%, yet overall total of restaurant visits had not declined – explained by customers stopping for just a drink.
Of the drinks ordered, shakes, smoothies, slushies, quirky coffee and bottled water are the most popular.
Drinking up growth opportunities
According to Kyle Olund, director of food-service product development at NPD, consumers ordering drinks without food account for an increasing percentage of restaurant traffic throughout the day. “Consumers are responding to new beverage introductions and the aggressive promotion of beverages, and as a result beverage-only has become a significant growth opportunity for the food service industry,” Olmund says.