Beverage Trends report: Customers ready to spend on drinks
Consumers are spending more money, these days, on beverages when dining out, according to this year's Beverage Trends report.
The report surveyed hundreds of restaurant operators and consumers to find that sales in 2016 for most beverage categories from smoothies and juices to coffee and alcohol were up over 2015, said Cherryh Cansler, director of editorial for Networld Media Group, the company behind the report and parent company of FastCasual, QSRWeb, FoodTruckOperator and Pizza Marketplace.
"And operators expect sales to keep climbing," she said in the report's executive summary. "Over the past year, for example, smoothie sales were up for about 52 percent of the brands that served them, and 70 percent predicted sales to increase over the next two years. Shakes and dessert beverages reported similar numbers with 49 percent saying that sales were up in 2016 over 2015, and 69 percent expected even higher sales over the next two years."
The report also found that coffee and all alcohol categories had similar stats. For example, about 52 percent said coffee sales were up, and the same number predicted increased sales in the coming two years.
"When it came to booze, 88 percent reported higher beer sales, 62 percent enjoyed higher wine sales, and 47 reported higher spirit sales in 2016 over 2015," Cansler said. " Operators expect all alcohol sales to climb over the next two years with 87 percent predicting higher beer sales, 73 expecting increased wine sales and 57 percent believing that spirit sales will be up."
Soda, however, remains the most popular beverage on fast casual menus with 82 percent of those surveyed offering it, Cansler said.
"About 42 percent said that soda sales were up over this time last year, and nearly the same number predicted higher sales over the next two years," she said.
Listening to consumers
To help operators better understand their customer desires about beverages, this year's report gathered consumer data from about 300 people, who described what beverages they most desired when eating out.