Some in the bar and restaurant industry might think the wellness industry and dining out are at odds with each other, but that would be a big misperception. Wellness has evolved from trend status to the de facto reality for many, and operators would be remiss to not take advantage of this massive market.
Operators know that the health and wellness mindset may have led to a decrease in consumption but that doesn’t mean revenue must shrink as well. Zero-proof cocktails, clearly identified healthier options, and combining exercise with diet are a few examples of how to position your business in the new wellness economy.
According to a new wellness report by Accor hotels (Sofitel, Fairmont, etc.), 56 percent of affluent travelers have stated being healthier in the coming year as their top goal for 2020. These guests, on average, spend $1,000-plus more than the average traveler, so attracting their disposable income should be one of your top goals.
Here are a few ways to do just that.
Zero-proof and Low-ABV
Bars could be nervous about sales taking a dive when guests take the month off from drinking. Some operations combat Dry January by shifting the mindset to “Try January.” This movement started with craft beer but has moved to operations encouraging guests to experiment with something new to start off the year.
Try January is the moment to delight guests. Demonstrating creativity with new products will win them over. Options should include beverages with less or zero alcohol. Heineken 0.0 makes it easy to have a beer without the buzz, and the spirits industry is humming with zero-proof options like Seedlip or Lyre’s. Listen Bar in NYC is a good example of an establishment that caters to the "sober-curious" year round and allows patrons to enjoy an evening out without the hangover in the morning.
We’re addressing both spirit-free and low-ABV drinks at the 2020 Nightclub & Bar Show with “The Rise of Zero-Proof and Low-ABV” conference session. Even in a drinking mecca like Las Vegas, lower consumption is a priority and Armon Noori, who works at Wynn’s massive Encore Beach Club, has noticed patrons are willing to pay for thoughtful programs that cater to their healthy lifestyle. According to Neilsen, 47 percent of Americans are making an effort to cut their consumption—that number is even higher for Millennials at 66 percent. This can be a threat to your business or an opportunity to serve them with options that fit their desires.
Exercise + Booze
Twelve percent of gym signups happen in January alone, and many use the month of January to "dry out" after the holiday season. Groups like Earn Your Booze (EYB) take another path rather than participate in Dry January. They follow the "we work hard and EARN our BOOZE 365" mantra which helps keep the mindset of rewarding oneself for the efforts put in which allows consumption year round. With the spike in fitness focus, it is a great way to collaborate with local gyms, and you can follow the model of EYB that has weekly workouts at hotels and gyms like F45. Reaching out to local fitness operations could be an easy to attract new groups to your venue.
Restaurants can reinforce that visiting won't ruin guests' gains by ensuring social posts highlight healthier options, striking a balance between putting in hard work and rewarding themselves for the effort. Understand the latest and popular diets out there, like low-carb, Paleo, and Keto, and be sure to offer menu items that are suited for them specifically. Look for inspiration from hotels that are catering to healthy travelers, like Equinox's Hudson Hotel or EVEN hotel in New York City.
Experience + Healthier Options
By creating a space that allows the growing number of wellness-focused guests to keep their commitments, operators provide a reason to visit despite the time of year or goals guests are working towards. It helps them shed the guilt associated with going out and can make a venue the top choice for groups to gather because it caters to both ends of the spectrum.
Our NxT Power Talk speaker, Naren Young of Dante and winner of World’s Best Bar, created a healthier version of a Bloody Mary that's packed with nutrients: it's made with six different cold-pressed vegetables and reduced sodium so guests can feel invigorated after one (or several).
Well-being isn’t just about physical health, it’s also mental wellness. Consumers are dropping their consumption habits and looking for experiences; 72 percent, in fact, feel the need for new experiences in their life. Derek Brown, owner and creator of PUB (Pop-Up Bar) in Washington, DC, has brought Game of Thrones, Super Mario, and the Cherry Blossoms to life, promotions that have led to lines wrapped around the block. The Miracle Bar concept grows bigger each year. Looking at ways to intersect experiential with wellness can lead to booming sales as people look to escape the stresses of life. Derek will cover this more with in his "Creating Immersive Bar Experiences" presentation.
Planning for 2020
Want a leg up on your competition? Learn how to implement a wellness program into your bar program! Don’t miss Nightclub & Bar 2020. In addition to the speakers listed here, we’ll also hear from Healthy Hospo on how to manage wellness for you and your staff. Furthermore, Sean Finter from BarMetrix reveals how closely mental wellness is tied to the highest preforming clients he works with. Don’t miss your chance to hear these strategies and be surrounded with thousands of your fellow operators on how they best implement wellness programs.