Boost between-meal business with beverages

It’s no secret that snacking occasions are on the rise, and that foodservice operators can build sales by leveraging that trend and reaching out to busy consumers who are looking for a between-meal bite. Or sip, as the case may be.

vegetable juice

In fact, beverages are still a relatively underappreciated category when it comes to taking advantage of snacking demand. According to the Technomic 2016 Snacking Occasion Consumer Trend Report, 30% of survey respondents aged 18-34 and 40% of those 35 or older report snacking on both food and beverages during any given snacking occasion. Just 15% of respondents aged 18-34 and 10% of the over-35 cohort take only a beverage when they snack—and therein lies the opportunity.

Filling, nutritious beverages like juices and smoothies can satisfy hunger pangs in ways that are flavorful, healthy and portable, making them ideal as snack replacements as well as food accompaniments. That’s one of the reasons, according to Technomic, that orders from the beverage section of the menu have risen 8% since 2014 at restaurants, to 42%.

Apart from soft drinks and plain tea or coffee, operators can experiment with more distinctive beverage options to spur snacking sales. This, of course, will also help spur add-ons to meals and snacking occasions.

Here are a few new beverage options to consider:

  • Juices and juice blends
  • Smoothies
  • Energy drinks and sports beverages
  • Enhanced juices and smoothies, such as those fortified with protein, acai, green tea and other nutritious ingredients
  • Global specialties, such as horchata and bubble tea
  • Infused and flavored still and sparkling waters
  • Lemonade specialties incorporating fresh fruit
  • Yogurt drinks and kefir

Along with expanding your offerings, merchandising beverages for snack alternatives is important—and can help boost sales.

  • Use attractive self-service equipment such as reach-ins, barrels, ice displays and other eye-catching merchandisers, prominently placed for convenience and impulse sales
  • Consider setting up a staffed beverage bar, especially for options such as customized or enhanced juices or smoothies
  • Switch up offerings frequently with new flavors and varieties, to create excitement and encourage trial
  • Provide nutritional information or signage where appropriate
  • Consider regular daily or weekly beverage specials (similar to a soup-of-the-day cycle), promoting choices on the menu, a calendar or other POS materials, the website and/or social media
  • Offer special pricing, such as a mid-afternoon “happy hour” with popular beverage options

V8 Veggie Blends are perfect for the beverage-as-snack opportunity, offering satisfying refreshment that’s heart-healthy and free from added sugar or sweeteners and artificial colors and flavors. And just like the original V8 Vegetable Juice, V* Veggie Blends are a great source of vitamins and provide at least two vegetable servings per 12-oz. portion. Flavors include Purple Power, Healthy Greens and Carrot Mango, all with a fresh new taste and a clean crisp fruit finish.

This post is sponsored by Campbell's Foodservice