Creating Effective and Balanced Beverage Menus

Beverage MenuLet’s examine how beverage menus can impact your beverage sales, what works and what may not work so well. You can never overlook the importance of suggestive selling, plus real time conversations at the bar and table-side by bartenders and servers with guests. With that being said, we do know however, that well developed beverage menus can be extremely effective. 

What’s Your Objective?

•  Insure your menu fits your guest’s needs.  What alcohol features are currently popular with guests in your bar and dining room?  

•  Provide the appropriate balance when marketing Beer, Wine and Spirits on your menu. Your beverage mix (% of alcoholic beverages sold as part of total revenue) will assist in determining this balance).

•  How much real estate can you count on?  If your menu has multiple pages you may have more opportunity to showcase features which will drive revenue. For example, you might have an entire page dedicated to margaritas, the most popular cocktail in the U.S. 

•  Do you have the opportunity to incorporate and include alcohol beverages on your core menu as well as your stand-alone beverage book or menu. If so, take advantage as every guest will view your core menu which improves your probability to sell adult beverages.  

Menu Design and Point of Purchase

•  Beverage menus should comfortably fit tables and bar tops. You want your guests to open and utilize, not immediately put down the menu due to its large size or being cumbersome.  

•  Beverage menus may provide an opportunity to showcase with pictures that will excite and invite new trial on features. An old theme, “people eat with their eyes” applies to beverages as well.    

•  How many categories do you want to include in your menu? Some categories to consider but not limited to which drives revenue: 

Current Favorites New Drinks Signature Cocktails
Margaritas  All Beers Wine (glass / bottle)
Shakers  Shooters / Shots Non-alcohol

•  Adding food or trendy appetizers to your beverage menu can play a huge role in driving revenue while supporting legislation to keep   our highways safe.  As a reminder, serving alcohol responsibly is critically important in your business today.  

•  Paper or “To Go” menus that showcase both food and beverages which are provided to guests for take home can be very effective.   This reminder will assist and help drive intent to return.    

LTO Marketing with Beverage Menus

•  Limited Time Offers (LTO’s) can drive revenue by calling out trendy features that are hot in the beverage industry.  Catch that current hot trend around flavors before it’s too late.  LTO’s can provide you an opportunity to remain relevant and quickly call out new products.  

•  Do you have inter-changeable pages or methods to insert an LTO page to capture special promotions?  Best in class beverage menus take advantage of this feature. They change and adapt quickly.

•  A well designed, eye catching and colorful in-house chalk board can also drive daily and weekly specials. 

Display your Menu

•  Now that you have that “kick ass” beverage menu, proudly display it on all tables.  Coach and challenge servers to introduce your beverage features to all guests who are of drinking age.

•  Too much is not always better.   Clutter on table tops and bars can confuse guests and could lessen the impact of your beverage features.  Leadership will need to determine what fits the best. 

•  If your current focus or promotion is on a specific feature, like margaritas, then have all menus opened to that page that displays margaritas for all guests to review as soon as they are seated. 

•  Keep ‘em clean!!   All menus act like an internal business card and represents your brand.  Keep back up menus for those that “walk” which is quite popular in today’s  hospitality environment.

A well developed, colorful beverage menu that represents your brand and broadcasts your beverage platform will drive both trial and incremental sales. To simplify - an effective and balanced beverage menu will sell more drinks!!!


For a free operations assessment contact George Barton at [email protected], 321-662-061 or visit







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