restaurant drink menu ideas
by Otilia Dobos

Creating an enticing menu is one of the secrets of a successful restaurant. While the stars of your menu are your food dishes, you mustn’t forget about drinks because they can significantly elevate the dining experience.

Did you know that beverages are one of the most profitable menu items? Check out these restaurant drink menu ideas that will help you persuade customers to order more and increase your sales:

11 Tips for a profitable drink menu in a restaurant

Creating a drinks menu is not as simple as it may seem, you can’t just pick random beverages. You must think about your audience, create specials that will help you stand out from the competition, and find ways to upsell. Try these restaurant drink menu ideas:

1. Keep it short

Smaller menus are better because they show clients that you prize quality over quantity, and it makes it easier for clients to decide on their order. The same is true for the drink menu.

A short restaurant drink menu creates a sense of exclusivity and makes inventory a breeze for you because you have fewer ingredients to keep track of.

Read more: Why Restaurants with Small Menus Are More Successful [+ Template]

2. Cater to your target market

One of the most efficient restaurant drink menu ideas for increased profit is to take into consideration your audience’s preferences. With a bit of research, you can find out:

  • Their age
  • Their drinks preferences
  • Their interests

Read more: Restaurant Target Market: How to Identify It and Why It Is Important for Your Business

You can also ask them directly what beverages they would like to see on your menu:

  • In the location, at the end of the meal, have the server ask if they have suggestions on how you could better your drinks menu;
  • On social media, in your Instagram stories, so the answers are private and go directly to you.

3. Become a master of food and beverage pairing

Make it easier for your customers to pick a drink by suggesting the best food and beverage pairing. You can do so in a couple of ways:

  • Train your employees about pairing techniques and have them recommend drinks to customers at the start of the meal;
  • Have special categories in the menu, such as “Perfect with Red Wine”, and “Goes great with beer” and list the corresponding food items;
  • Create meal combos with the pairing already done such as “Burger, fries, and beer” or “Fish, light salad, and white wine”.

If you want to learn more about pairing, check our in-depth article (complete with illustrated infographic):

7 Food and Beverage Pairing Techniques That Will Help You Sell More Food

4. Change the drink menu seasonally

People’s tastes in drinks change with the season. While in the summer people prefer cold, refreshing drinks, usually lighter and fruitier, winter comes with hot drinks, sometimes spiced.

If you want customers to order more of your drinks, give them seasonal beverages. Check out these restaurant drink menu ideas:

  • Use seasonal and local ingredients: support the local economy and allow clients to enjoy a fresh taste in their beverages. Seasonal fruits are also cheaper compared to imported ones, so you increase your profit margin;
  • Use suggestive names: attract customers to order by describing the taste in the name, such as “Italian summer vacation” for your take on Aperol Spritz.

Read more: How to Capitalize on Restaurant Seasonality to Increase Profits

5. Create a signature cocktail

Allow your bartenders to experiment and create a few signature cocktails only available at your restaurant. They should impress through:

  • Unusual ingredients
  • Presentation
  • Different textures
  • Garnishes
  • Names

6. Provide choices for people with specific diets and allergies

There are a variety of people that suffer from allergies or follow specific diets and they still want to be able to enjoy a night out. If you want to attract them to your establishment, implement the following restaurant drink menu ideas:

  • List the allergens in the menu description: you can do so easily with the menu creator from GloriaFood. It will only take you a few seconds to ensure you are allergy-compliant;
  • Add nutritional values to drinks: people who count calories know that drinks can easily add up. Save them the worry and give them the necessary information in the menu item’s description;
  • Provide healthy drinks: not all your drinks should be alcoholic. Provide options for people who are on a health journey by making drinks with superfoods such as acai, yogurt, blueberries, turmeric powder, and green tea.
Attract a new audience with a detailed restaurant drink menu Easily add allergens and nutritional information to your menu

7. Allow customers to customize their mixers

If you want to offer customers an experience they won’t forget, enable them to create a drink catered to their taste. They will most likely take a photo of it and post it all over social media, practically promoting your business for free.

This is also your opportunity to upsell. Add a new item called “Customizable mixer” to your drink list at a higher price compared to other drinks and have servers suggest it when people seem indecisive about their choice of beverage.

8. Decorate your drinks

Garnishes don’t just make a drink more visually appealing, but they also create a more fun and appetizing experience for your clients. Here are a few ideas you can try:

  • Classic garnishes such as mint, basil, and citrus peels;
  • Fruits on skewers for an added fresh taste;
  • Umbrellas and other themed decorations for themed events.

9. Make it easier for customers to order

When your restaurant is busy, your customers may have a hard time getting a server’s attention to order more drinks. If you want to encourage clients to order more, consider implementing a QR code restaurant menu.

It will only take you minutes to generate a QR code with GloriaFood. After that, you just have to print the code on flyers and stick one on every table. Bonus, you also save money because you don’t have to print out new menus every time you make a change.

Consent needed

10. Consider including drinks in your promotions

If you’re looking for restaurant drink menu ideas to increase the average check, you must try promotions. Who can resist a great deal that includes both food and beverages?

Check out these ideas:

  • Free cocktail for every order over $60;
  • 10% off all beers on International Beer Day;
  • Buy a mixer, get one for free for Valentine’s Day;
  • 10% on combo deal with a main, side, and drink.

With GloriaFood, you can add promotions to your menu in seconds:

Consent needed
Persuade customers to order more from your drink menu Add promotions to your restaurant menu in seconds

11. Collaborate with local producers

To get the people around you to become patrons at your restaurant, you should become more involved in your local community. You can do so by creating partnerships with local producers that can supply quality drinks, such as:

  • Wineries
  • Breweries
  • Coffee factories

What’s more, by collaborating with local businesses, you also gain new clients that are fans of their products. It’s a win-win situation.

Read more: How Restaurant Partnerships Can Help Your Business Grow

Restaurants drink menu ideas you must try

If you are just opening your restaurant or want to refresh your menu, we’ve gathered a few restaurant drink menu ideas your customers will appreciate. We suggest you give customers plenty of options, from energizing coffees and tasty smoothies to boozy cocktails and fresh mocktails.

For the first part of the day:

  • Classic coffees such as espresso, cappuccino, latte and flat white
  • Orange juice and grapefruit juice
  • Smoothies like berry banana or pineapple mango

For people who don’t drink alcohol:

  • Virgin Mojito
  • Raspberry Lemonade Fizz
  • Chili-lime Pineapple Soda
  • Kombucha

For people who like unique cocktails:

  • Seltzer Sangria
  • Pineapple Margarita Spritzer
  • Watermelon Mint Mojito
  • Peach Aperol Spritz
  • Rosemary Salty Dog
  • Chamomile Tequila Sour
  • Hot Buttered Rum

For people who appreciate the classics:

  • Craft beer: IPA, Stout, Lager
  • All types of wine: red, rose and white
  • Classic cocktails: Tom Collins, Cosmopolitan, Cuba Libre, Mojito

How to serve beverages in a restaurant

If your restaurant serves customers at the table, you must train employees, so they know the proper etiquette for serving beverages. This will enhance the experience for your customers, prompting them to recommend your business to their friends and online.

Follow these tips:

  • Servers should never touch the lip of a glass to ensure safety. Each glass should be handled by the stem, handle, or bottom;
  • Place drinks on a coaster or directly on the table, if it has a cloth;
  • Always serve the customers from their right side;
  • Remove glasses as soon as they are empty to give customers more room. This will also persuade them to order more;
  • Use the appropriate type of glass for each beverage.

Read more: 12 Restaurant Steps of Service for an Excellent Guest Experience

Final Words

Getting customers to buy more drinks can notably increase your profit because beverages already have a big profit margin. Implement the restaurant drink menu ideas presented above to both offer clients a pleasant experience and persuade them to order more.

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photo of GloriaFood blog writer Otilia Dobos
Otilia Dobos

Otilia Dobos prides herself on well-documented, easy to understand and SEO-optimized content, both short and long form.