Presentation of soft drinks as vital as other categories
JUST as with a spirit and mixer, beer, wine or cocktail, delivering the ‘perfect serve’ can have a major impact on sales of soft drinks.
It stands to reason, then, that staff training is vital.
In fact, it’s a major focus for many of the companies behind the biggest soft drinks brands in the Scottish on-trade.
Not only are soft drinks producers and distributors encouraging licensees to make sure the category is part of their wider drinks training programme, a number are supporting the trade with their own training initiatives.
Revamped and relaunched in June, Perfect Serve from Coca-Cola European Partners (CCEP) is a free training programme for bar staff which is designed to help grow sales of soft drinks.
Branded glassware consistently comes out as really important amongst our consumers.
Divided into three basic steps, the initiative shows staff how to pour the ‘perfect serve’ of Coca-Cola products; it covers Perfect Choice – offering consumers a choice of the three Coca-Cola variants plus bottle or draught; Perfect Serve – the importance of glassware, volume of ice and garnish; and Perfect Time – when to offer a second drink to drive sales.
A video of the ‘perfect serve’ is available on the Coca-Cola Perfect Serve website, along with details of how to best describe the three Coca-Cola variants to consumers and a contact form to enquire about barware and products.
Rob Harris, out of home director at CCEP, said the training programme aims to “help venue staff deliver that premium soft drink experience consistently”.
“We want bar staff to be proud of the drink they are serving and the premium glassware and iconic Coca-Cola glass bottles equip them with the tools to boost their sales and reputation for serving quality, whilst giving their guests a reason to come back for a second serve, and a repeat visit,” he said.
The importance of serving quality soft drinks every time was underlined by Steve Carter, sales and marketing director at Frobishers Juices, who said presentation and perfect serve are “key” when it comes to soft drinks.
“Glassware consistently comes up as really important amongst our customers who definitely enjoy drinking from a branded glass and enjoy being presented with the bottle to self-serve the remainder of their drink,” said Carter.
“There’s a real connection here with other premium serve drinks that help elevate the status of a soft drink and makes the customer feel more special. Adding a garnish can help elevate this status further, which in turn can help elevate the price point that a customer is willing to pay for that drink.”
Mocktails also offer a “great opportunity” for operators to not only add another dimension to their soft drinks offer, but to command a higher price point, according to Carter.
“Simple mocktails served well and with a colourful garnish can elevate GP by around 40% compared to sales of a mainstream low-value soft drink,” he said.
This was echoed by Nick Yates, sales and operations director at Vimto Out Of Home, who said staff recommendation and serve are crucial to growing sales.
“Give your soft drinks as much consideration as a cocktail,” he said.
“Serve the drink in the right glass, with the right garnishes – it’ll help consumers to stay there for one more.
“Consumers are also willing to pay more for premium so by giving your drinks a premium look and feel you can improve your bottom line too.”
The sales opportunity presented by mocktails was also highlighted by Carol Saunders, head of customer marketing at Highland Spring Group, who said an increasing number of outlets are using sparkling water over soda water in cocktails and mocktails.
A simple mocktail served well can elevate GP by around 40% compared to a mainstream soft drink.
“Two factors play a key role here: firstly, the minerality of sparkling water contributes to its clean and cooling flavour profile, and, secondly, the size of the bubbles which form the effervescence – the smaller the bubbles the more pleasing the texture and mouth feel,” she said.
“We’ve been encouraging consumers to try making great-tasting, all-natural, feel-good drinks made using Highland Spring sparkling water.”