We continue to see many of our favorite independent and chain restaurants pivot their business model to focus more on curbside pickup and to-go options. This is a decision that has repeatedly made the difference between continuing to serve the community, or shutting their doors. And while this business adjustment may have been difficult, it has proven to be one of great value.
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. In some case's it makes more sense logistically for the customer to park and grab their food inside from a table near the front, or a table placed right outside the entrance.
Customers appreciate the convenience of curbside pick-up because it's quick and easy. 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.
When considering an impressive variety of craft beer and creative mixed drink specials – specifically developed to celebrate the holidays – there’s no better time to embrace the curbside option and make the upcoming 2020 holiday season the best that it can be.
Understand Your State’s Regulations
In an ongoing effort to increase sales for both restaurants and bars, many state lawmakers are relaxing 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 and verify if they are allowed to deliver alcohol or if there is the option to purchase it to-go or as a curbside pickup.
Know what the rules and regulations are for selling alcohol to-go in your state. The Wine Institute provides 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 regulations, make sure your customers know about it. Promote how they may continue to support your business and spread the word about this new service often and across a variety of outlets:
- Update the home page of your website and highlight this new feature
- Ensure your online menu and ordering options – 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
Leverage the upcoming holidays and 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 on their way home from work, or on their way to a holiday gathering, to pick up their favorite beverages, ready to be shared with friends and family.
Growlers on the Go
Growlers have long been an opportunity for breweries to offer the tap room experience to their customers in the comfort 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. During the holidays, 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 once-a-year holiday brews will be a special experience that can be enjoyed by everyone.
Although craft beer lends itself well to curbside pickup and to-go sales through the use of growlers, we mustn’t forget about the extensive list of mixed drinks that have gone hand-in-hand with the holidays for generations.
It also shouldn’t come as a surprise that offering takeout alcohol will be a focus for many restaurants trying to stay afloat during an uncertain holiday season. 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 option to sell cocktail kits for drinks like Margaritas, Old Fashioned's, Mojitos and more (to name a few). What’s a cocktail kit? Great for beginners or experts, these kits have everything you need 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. It’s also convenient, and very much in the spirit of the holidays, that 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 during the holidays.
Looking for more ways to boost business over the holidays? Check out our holiday prep infographic!