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10 Ways to Increase Liquor Sales

The great thing about liquor sales is that the cost of goods sold is only about 20%. It’s one of the highest profit margin products you can sell. It’s also an easy sell, so it’s no wonder you’d like to increase liquor sales for your business.

Here are ten ideas to help increase alcohol sales for your bar or restaurant.

1. Add a Bar In the Waiting Area

For restaurants, one of the best ways to lift alcohol sales is just to add a bar in the waiting area. It makes waiting for a table an experience to get the night started rather than an annoyance.

Drinking a beer or cocktail can really take the edge off your customers on a busy night. And by engaging your customer it can decrease abandonment during long waits.

2. Promote Happy Hour Events

It’s not just happy hour, it’s a party! Themed happy hour specials give guests a reason to come back multiple times a week. Gotta get my $2 domestics on Monday and my bottomless margaritas on Thursday!

3. After Hours Drinks

If the restaurant closes at 9 or 10 and you’ve got a full bar, keep it open late. Attract after hours regulars who transition from diners to drinkers.

By adding additional after hours specials it’s like happy hour number two! Offer a limited after hours menu with bar friendly munchies.

4. Upsell Top Shelf Liquor

Use the gentle nudge of an up-sell to bump up liquor sales. Train your staff to offer premium liquors by default. This allows the patron to be the one to say if they want a well drink.

If a guest orders without specifying the brand, offer a choice. For example, “I’d like a gin and tonic”. The server’s reply should be “Would you like it with Tanqueray or with Bombay Sapphire?” Most people will pick from the options given.

5. Craft Signature Cocktails

If you can mix a great drink from your own interpretation it can become a bestseller. Being known for a killer drink will spread word of mouth advertising and make your business a destination.

You don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Use existing drinks as a basis and make them better by giving it a twist. Just a few creative tricks can go a long way.

6. Create a Comfortable Atmosphere

One way to boost liquor sales is to keep guests around longer. This is usually the antithesis of what a restaurant wants but for encouraging drinking more it’s good to give people a place to relax and be social.

You can add a lounge area near the bar that is comfortable, facilitates long conversations and shifts the focus from food to drinks.

7. Turn Up The Music

Research shows that louder music encourages more drinking. So crank up the tunes and maybe add an area for dancing. It’s unclear why louder music sells more drinks. It may be because it reduces time spent in conversation.

Place speakers near the bar area so the loud music doesn’t disturb guests who are dining. And don’t think it has to be upbeat music. Another study shows that mellow music increased the spending of bar patrons by 40%!

8. Add More Seats At The Bar

This is a logistical approach to the problem. A bigger bar means more people sitting at the bar. How many times have you decided not to order because the bar was too crowded?

By allowing more space, additional patrons can squeeze in and place their orders. It’s also easier to order more drinks when you’re at the bar rather than having to wait for the wait staff to take your order.

9. Add Outdoor Seating

Some people prefer to have their drinks in the open air. This may be due to the social aspects, the fresh air or their smoking habit. The fact is that many people want to smoke cigarettes and imbibe.

By accommodating the social habits of tobacco smokers with an outdoor seating area you can make them comfortable. And keep the drinks coming.

10. Sell Local Craft Beers

The craft beer industry is exploding and that’s great news for you. Food and beer pairings can be recommended to diners.

The fact that it’s locally made can add additional interest. The “go local” trend is also growing. Local breweries can be negotiated with directly for price breaks, while the perception of “local craft beer” can command a premium when sold to patrons.

11. Bonus — Liquor Inventory System

This isn’t exactly a liquor sales tactic, but it will lift your bottom line. Accurate drink accounting keeps you selling what you’re supposed to. A liquor inventory system keeps bartenders’ pours accurate so that every bottle is maximized in its profitability.

Rezku POS features liquor tracking and built in drink recipes to help bartenders mix the correct amount — every time.

These are 10 ways you can increase your liquor sales in your restaurant. Each one won’t likely apply to your situation but we hope that they help you brainstorm new ideas and marketing tactics that you can use to make more money with your restaurant liquor sales.


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