Upscaling Drink Sales

Creating a Premium Beverage Program

Successful operators understand the importance of creating premium beverage programs not only for their customers, but also for their staff. In upscale establishments, food and beverage programs must mesh seamlessly and provide customers creative as well as traditional options.

"Creating a Premium Beverage Program" will be the topic for panelists Don Stanczak, senior food and beverage executive for Interstate Hotels & Resorts and president of food and beverage solutions; Tylor Field, vice president wine and spirits with Morton's The Steakhouse; and Scott Schmidt, director of operations for Mitchell's Fish Market. This panel of experts, which I'll moderate, will share insights into building beverage sales and how to provide customers innovation and high quality ingredients to keep them coming back. The panel will also impart ideas about creative beverage programs to enhance the dining experience and increase profitability.

"Never try to pretend you are the expert at everything," Field says. "No matter how small [the topic], there is an expert out there. Find them and ask for help." Field will offer ways to transform your bar into an upscale destination unto itself, as well as a different approach to bar space with a goal of developing its own personality and attracting different demographics to help grow your business and give guests something to talk about. "It's all about surprising and delighting your guests," Field says

"Balance innovation and traditional ingredients made with high quality products to attract new customers and that continue to make your core customer happy and keep them coming back," advises Schmidt, who uses promotional materials to communicate with his guests and provide personality to his beverage program. He will reveal his beverage successes with the group and discuss how Mitchell's has elevated its beverage focus over the past year.

Don Stanczak of Interstate Hotels & Resorts will talk about his insights regarding the beverage experience within the hotel segment. He will explain and analyze the recent success he has experienced with his beverage programs, which have driven guests to indulge in his newly created cocktails. Stanczak will also share his opinions about marketing materials and high quality ingredients that set you apart from your competitors.

Editor's Note: This is the final article in a series of four relating to the must-see Millennium Advisory Board panels to be featured at International Hospitality Week in Las Vegas, March 1–4.  For more information, visit

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