When you think about your beverage offerings, do you consider them individually? Unfortunately for the bottom line, that's the way most operators make beverage decisions, adding or removing one item at a time for seemingly logical reasons at the moment. Very few restaurant executives think about taking the time to assess their total drinks program.
Are the beverages you are offering – both hot and cold-- compatible with the rest of the menu? Are they providing exactly what your customers want to accompany their food purchases? Do they fit the lifestyles of today's consumers, especially the people coming to your restaurant?
Recently, it was very enlightening for me to hear a presentation about approaching a small chain's beverage program holistically, examining the kinds and categories of drinks that consumers were purchasing with their meals, rather than specific brand and flavor recommendations. Rolie Zagnoli, the presenter, had thoroughly analyzed the chain's menu and sales by product, the drink mix, number of purchases with no drink, sizes of drinks sold — all of the information for the entire drinks menu.
He pointed out the strengths and weaknesses of each item, not solely based on sales, but how it matched with the desires and demographics of the chain's customer base. Having no financial connection to any beverage brand, package or distributor, Zagnoli was able to recommend additions, deletions and substitutions for both hot and cold beverages that had great potential for increasing the chain's drink sales and profits.
As a person who has heard dozens of presentations from the big soft drink brands, full of ideas and analyses based on a narrow, single-brand-focused point-of-view, Zagnoli held my attention with his realistic look at many beverage brands and potential offerings that could improve sales at that particular chain. He had beverage ideas that did not depend on any specific flavor, size or brand name, but might come closer to the tastes of the customer base.
Do you need to serve hot coffee? Should it be a full line of coffee beverages with latte, espresso, cappuccino and the rest? What sizes? What containers? How do you keep it fresh during slow hours? Should cold beverages be fountain or bottled? What brands? What sizes? Dozens of details, but he had recommendations that answered all of them, and that was true of every component of the entire drink program.
Rolie Zagnoli's experience — 20 years of providing beverage programs to restaurant and chains of all sizes — and his unique, total beverage menu approach was quite refreshing to this old burger guy.
He seems to have a different, much more passionate approach to beverages served in restaurants, and he has a team of equal expertise. They work alongside the clients as partners on the ground, and stay with the project until both the brand is making the beverage program pay out, and total customer satisfaction is achieved. The lesson is that no matter how well you think some segment of your business is doing, there are people out there like Rolie Zagnoli that can help you improve it.
If you want to "zag" your beverage program that's probably in a "zig" pattern now, get in touch with "The Zag" himself: Rolie Zagnoli, 978-729-5897, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Barry Klein is best known for creating the Ronald McDonald character and led the "You Deserve A Break Today" advertising campaign for McDonald's. In his current occupation as a marketing consultant, Klein has developed business-building concepts, new products and more for Coca Cola, Pizza Hut, Quiznos, Cadillac, Ruby Tuesday, Friendly’s, Perkins, Pay Less Shoes and others. He has been a key contributor to such projects as Stuffed Crust Pizza for Pizza Hut, Prime Rib Subs and Torpedoes for Quizno