THERE’S no denying that Christmas generally brings a real boost for the on-trade.
From work nights out to family gatherings, more people are in bars, restaurants and hotels over the festive season, giving operators a huge opportunity to showcase everything their venue has to offer.
It’s crucial, then, that everything from the staff and service to the decor, food and drinks is at the top of its game – and that includes cocktails.
Consumers are turning away from traditional drinks in a quest for something more stirring.
According to research commissioned by Pernod Ricard – the firm behind brands like Absolut vodka, Beefeater gin and Havana Club rum – consumers are willing to spend an additional 12% on a cocktail (£8.74 verses £7.83) over the Christmas period, which it says offers licensees a “fantastic opportunity”.
This was echoed by drinks giant Diageo, which said a number of consumers are “turning [their] back on traditional Christmas drinks in a quest for something more stirring”.
Claiming premium cocktails offer a “great opportunity to trade up” during the Christmas season, Diageo said CGA data has shown that 59% of cocktail consumers are likely to drink cocktails that have been listed as an accompaniment alongside a food menu; the research is also said to have revealed that over two thirds of cocktails are now consumed in pubs, highlighting further sales opportunities.
Underlining the importance of cocktails this Christmas, Pernod Ricard UK’s channel director, Mark Harris, said the sales opportunity for the UK on-trade could almost double to more than £50 million if operators can encourage consumers to trade up to premium spirits this Christmas.
“69% of cocktail drinkers are looking [to] experiment in the weeks before Christmas and 53% are likely to trade up, so there’s a huge opportunity for the on-trade to drive sales by enticing a broad spectrum of cocktail lovers,” said Harris.
When it comes to encouraging customers to upgrade their drinks or order cocktails, power lies in an outlet’s menu, according to Pernod Ricard UK.
Our latest research has shown menus to be the most influential marketing tool.
In a bid to help on-trade operators tap into the sales opportunity that festive cocktails presents, the drinks firm has launched a new ‘menu-making’ app.
Partnering with software designers MRM Design Studio, Pernod Ricard’s app assists licensees with personalised menus, but can also be used as a direct ordering system for point of sale (POS) linked to Pernod Ricard’s on-trade marketing campaigns.
The company’s Mark Harris said by using the right menus and POS, operators can extend cocktail sales beyond the festive season.
“We know consumers are willing to spend more at Christmas, so it’s essential venues do as much as they can to entice sporadic drinkers and our latest research has shown menus to be the most influential marketing tool,” added Harris.
“Bars have traditionally been the heartland for cocktails, but opportunities exist to leverage cocktails in both pubs and food-led establishments, by offering them as a Christmas treat or a great after dinner alternative.”