We continue to see many of our favorite independent restaurants pivot their business model to focus more on curbside pickup and to-go options. And while this business adjustment may have been difficult, it has proven to be one of great value to both operators and customers alike.
The idea behind curbside pick-up is simple enough: customers place an order over the phone, online or through an associated App, they drive to the restaurant, park near the entrance and a restaurant employee hand delivers the packaged food to them through their car window.
Customers appreciate the convenience of curbside pick-up because they never have to leave their car. Restaurants like it because it provides additional opportunities to increase sales and keep orders flowing.
But it isn’t just restaurants benefitting from this new (or new to them) style of service. Craft brewers and bars across the country are seeing the positive impact this has had on the restaurant industry and are taking note.
Understand Your State’s Regulations
In an ongoing effort to increase sales for restaurants, bars and craft breweries, many state lawmakers continue to relax some of the restrictions specific to alcohol delivery and "to-go" options. As might be expected, each state has been addressing these rules and restrictions differently.
Not only do these rules vary from state-to-state, they also have been known to frequently change. As a consumer, it is recommended that you contact your local restaurant, craft brewery or corner bar in order to verify if they are allowed to deliver alcohol or if there is the option to purchase it to-go or as a curbside pickup.
As a business owner, know what the rules and regulations are for selling alcohol to-go in your state. The Wine Institute has provided useful reference information when determining what the current regulations may be for your state’s curbside alcohol pickup.
Communicate with Your Customers
After you’ve verified the specific state regulations and guidelines, make sure your customers know about this added service you’re able to provide them. Promote how they may continue to support your business and spread the word about this service, often and across a variety of outlets:
- Update the home page of your website and highlight this new feature
- Ensure your online menu – wherever it is posted – identifies this service
- Communicate with and educate your customers through Facebook and Instagram
- Clearly post signage on the main entrance of your restaurant and in the parking lot
Look for opportunities to stand out from the competition by promoting your classic brews, original mixers and special deals. Offer a variety of one-of-a-kind glassware and merchandise that is unique to your business. Give your customers another reason to stop at their favorite restaurant, bar or craft brewery to pick up their favorite beverages, ready to be shared with friends and family.
Creative Mixers for Every Occasion
Restaurants that offer alcoholic takeout options to their customers will be granted additional opportunities to increase sales. As stated above, understanding your state’s individual regulations about alcohol to-go is an important first step. Many states are relaxing those regulations and as such, restaurants are allowed to sell alcohol with food as long as the drinks are in containers with secure lids.
Also gaining popularity is the notion of selling cocktail kits for drinks like Margaritas, Old Fashioneds, Mojitos and more (to name a few). What’s a cocktail kit? Great for beginners or experts, these kits include the essentials needed to mix up your favorite alcoholic beverage at home. They include the ingredients – everything from the spirits to the garnish to the bitters – and step-by-step instructions to make the cocktail as good as if it were being served by a professional mixologist. As an added bonus, these cocktail kits are often sold in large-sized formats, making it the perfect option to mix a complete round (or more) of drinks to share with friends and family.
Growlers on the Go
Craft beer lends itself particularly well to the idea of curbside pickup and to-go sales through the use of growlers. They have long been an opportunity for breweries to offer the tap room experience to their customers from the comforts of their own home. It doesn't get much more fresh than coming directly from the tap. It’s also a great idea to give the customer a selection of growler sizes and options to choose from.
Growlers make a great gift, for both loyal fans and newcomers alike. Whatever the occasion may be, sharing this gift is a perfect way to bring family and friends closer together. Make the gift even more memorable by selecting a nicely engraved or color screen printed growler. Those special or limited-run brews will be an experience that everyone is sure to enjoy.