Food pairing is no new concept in the hospitality industry; the right beverage can enhance a customer’s meal and improve your overall reputation. The act of food pairing has evolved since its origination. Typically, food was paired with wine, and while this is still extremely popular today, the sensation has evolved thoroughly; the pallet for food pairing has expanded to beer and most recently, cocktails.
Founder of Trust3 Hospitality and Nightclub & Bar Convention and Trade Show Speaker, Kelley Jones sheds light on the importance of food pairing for bar venues and how they can maximize their profits with this trend. Jones concludes that in recent years, relevant beverage pairs include wine, beer, cocktails, scotch and bourbon. It’s all about the tastes Jones tells us.
Jones acknowledges that as an industry, we have come a long way from the white wine with fish and red wine with meat mindset of 15 years ago. Jones explains that it is more difficult to pair food with composed cocktails as opposed to individual spirits because of the magnitude of ingredients used to create a cocktail. However, if the right combination is found, a cocktail can easily augment a meal.
Honestly there are not many rules or restrictions when it comes to food pairing because taste preferences are so subjective. Being that you really have to play off individual favors when it comes to taste, the only way to perfect food pairing is done by experimentation; this will keep you on your toes and your customers feeling at home with personalized suggestions for their choice of beverage.
“Traditionally food drives the cocktail programs and it is so important that the bar and beverage program work closely with the kitchen and cross utilize menu ingredients in the cocktails so that there is continuity between the food and beverage offerings,” advises Jones.
Jones believes that with food and beverage, venues should complement flavors and in order to create a visually stimulating plate, you should contrast colors. This will increase your appeal and heighten your venue’s status.
“Bars and beverage programs always have higher profit margins than restaurants and food programs; but instituting food gives the guest options and can increase beverage sales based on sweet, salty, bitter and sour taste profiles. A solid cocktail program needs to stay focused and concise more than 8 to 10 specialty cocktails on a menu will probably not be executed consistently.”