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Kali Mireva

Hotel Industry Beverage Program: 6 Ways to Create One

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Creating a beverage program that will set your business apart from the rest can be challenging. This is especially true if you are in the hotel industry, and you're dealing with hospitality risk management. However, this does not mean it’s an impossible mission! Whether you are making a plan for your restaurant or the mini bars, it's easer than you think.

Amazing guest and customer experience are important for any business, and it’s not up to the hotel staff to ensure that. Having a well-planned hotel beverage program will give your guests one more reason to enjoy their stay and come back in the future. This will keep you at the top in the highly competitive hospitality industry.

In this article, we’ve outlined six easy ways to create the ideal program and make hotel inventory management easier for you. Let’s get right into it!

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Hotel Industry Beverage Program

When you visit a restaurant, you expect to get quality customer service. It's common to also expect fresh food, and feel like you get value for your money. Food and beverage services are not very different from each other. 

People expect to have a proper drink with their proper food. This is why you shouldn’t overlook the importance of building a great beverage program such as a wine list. Building your program with the help of a cocktail expert is also recommended. Here’s how to do that!

Key takeaway: A hotel industry beverage program is not hard to create. It takes realizing how important it is, prioritization, figuring out what makes sense, and listening to what people actually want.

1. Prioritize It!

You would be surprised how many business owners and managers in the hotel industry underestimate the importance of their bar. Many focus on hiring an experienced chef, or different types of chefs or supplying high-quality ingredients. Due to this, they put the management of their hotel bar on the back burner. 

For many restaurants, beverage sales only take up to 25-30% of the overall sales numbers. These stats are what make a lot of restaurant managers knowingly neglect their beverage program. They don’t think it will make much of a difference if they spend more time, energy, and money on it. 

However, by creating a great beverage program you will improve the guest experience which, in turn, will make your business more money. Drinks that complement the food and are unique will leave a great impression on the people visiting your hotel. 

This is why hotels may look into a food and wine pairing menu and beer and food pairings. It’s possible these types of menus will entice customers. Stocking specialty coffee is also worth it. This can increase the likelihood for them to return and recommend it to their friends and family. 

2. Stick to Your Concept

Whether your hotel is small, with a family-like feel, or you are at the higher end of the hotel industry, it’s important to know your concept and stick to it. Make not only the food in the restaurant match the concept, but get the drinks to match the menu as well. Even if you serve seasonal drinks, they still can be part of your concept.

Don’t get distracted by what’s trendy at the moment. If the Prohibition-era cocktails are in, but your place has more of an Italian vibe, look for other ideas. 

Trends are trends for a reason - they come and go. But the beverage menu of your hotel should be aiming for a great guest experience, and you should focus on that. 

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3. Get to Know Your Customers

Although the concept of your hotel and restaurant will influence the type of customers you get, you should also study them. What are they ordering? What never seems to be asked for? 

This is important in liquor inventory management. Find out what they enjoy and make sure you are stocking up on the right types of liquor and beverages that complement it. 

4. Listen to the Staff

One of the most important steps when building your beverage program is talking and listening to your staff members. Your hotel staff will give you great insight into how things are going. They can also suggest ideas of what can be added to the menu, like the CBD beverages currently growing in popularity.

The staff tends to have the best ideas because of their close connection to the customers. They may have heard people asking for the same types of drinks, so you should look into that and add it to the assortment.

5. Price Fairly

There’s one common mistake some hotel and restaurant owners make. This is not taking the time to research pricing and put a fair cost to the items on their menus. 

Don’t base the prices of the food and drinks on your menu on what you see in your local area. Invest some time in the pricing. 

Think about what actually costs more, what should be priced higher, and where you may need to round down. The guests in your restaurant will appreciate it, and you will gain their trust. This is also important for customer retention

6. Don’t Overlook the Details

People eat and drink with their eyes first. This is why it’s crucial to never overlook the way your bar appears. Make sure the bottles are dusted regularly, wine lists are updated, and have the right wine names written down. 

Follow a bar and restaurant cleaning checklist. This will help ensure you have clean glassware, utensils, and dining area.

Some of these details may appear to be small, but they can make or break your relationship with the client. Make sure your staff is keeping the place in great condition and that all of the drinks are presented in a beautiful way. 

Frequently Asked Questions about Hotel Industry Beverage Programs

There’s this misconception that food is far more important than the drinks at restaurants and hotels. However, this is not entirely true. They both go hand in hand and a bad drinks selection may ruin the whole guest experience. 

Creating a great hotel beverages program is something owners and managers need to put on the top of their priority list. But if the information we already shared didn’t answer all of your questions, you may find the answers below!

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How Hard Is It to Create a Beverage Program? 

It’s not hard to create a great beverage program, all you need is:

  • Prioritize the task
  • Listen to the insights your staff members have regarding customer wants
  • Compare, but do not copy, pricing from competitors
  • Stick to your concept
  • Pay attention to the details

If you follow the steps we already unfolded for you, the success of your hotel industry beverage program will be guaranteed! 

What Are the Most Common Mistakes When Creating a Beverage Program in the Hotel Industry? 

The most common mistakes when creating a beverage program in the hotel industry are: 

  • Not sticking to the concept of the place and menu
  • Overlooking the details
  • Having unfairly priced items
  • Not taking advantage of digital ordering

All of these mistakes may affect your clients’ trust and lead to a loss of revenue. Be wary of them and make sure that you are avoiding them as much as possible. If you do, the results will be visible soon enough. 

Are Food and Drinks Both Equally Important? 

Yes, food and drinks are equally important for your hotel and restaurant. They both can make or break the experience for your guests. 

It’s crucial for you to get quality food and drinks, but also match them well together. It wouldn’t make sense to serve Mexican food appetizers, for example, and not serve different types of tequila or tequila-based cocktails. 

Make sure that your menu is in harmony with the drinks you offer. The same goes for the stocked mini bar in your hotel's rooms. You will see how great this will impact your customer satisfaction. The number of returning clients will increase as well. 

How Do I Handle Special Dietary Requirements and Allergens in the Beverage Program?

Clearly label all menu items that include allergens, train your staff to assist customers who have dietary restrictions. Also, make sure to offer a range of vegan drinks and gluten-free drinks.

You can serve coffee with various plant-based milks, add some vegan wine options to your menu, as well as gluten-free beer and various gluten-free cocktails. There are even keto and gluten-free alternatives you can offer and lots of vegan non-alcoholic drinks. This wide variety will be well appreciated by the guests at your hotel.

How Do I Measure the Success and Profitability of My Hotel's Beverage Program?

To measure the success and profitability of your hotel's beverage program, track key performance indicators (KPIs) such as beverage sales revenue, profit margins, customer feedback, and the return on investment (ROI) for marketing and promotions. Learn how to calculate ROI and invest money in beverage inventory tracking software that will help you gather the data you need.

When you have enough historical data, you will see which items in your inventory are helping you maximize profits and which are not. You can then curate your offers to include more options that are both appealing to customers and make financial sense.

What Is a Beverage Program in the Hotel Industry?

A beverage program in the hotel industry refers to the strategy and offerings related to drinks provided by the hotel. This includes alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages served in hotel bars, restaurants, room service, and at events. It's not limited to the beverage menu of a bar or a restaurant within the hotel, which is a common misconception.

What Trends Are Currently Shaping the Hotel Beverage Industry?

Some current trends include a focus on craft cocktails and artisanal spirits, sustainability and eco-friendly practices such as using locally sourced ingredients and reducing waste, the rise of alcohol-free or low-alcohol options, and the integration of technology for ordering and delivery. All of these trends are great but it's not necessary to follow them or try to implement as many of them as possible in a short period of time. If you run a hotel, give yourself and your staff enough time to plan and execute everything in the best possible way for your business.

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