New Year boost

January is known to be a quieter time in hospitality, however, it doesn’t need to be that way for your outlet. Taking advantage of Dry January could be just the thing you need to boost trade…

The Christmas decorations are packed away. The New Year’s Eve festivities are over. The pace may drop for a short while, but let’s keep your customers coming in!

Dry January began in 2013 and has grown in popularity ever since. In 2021, 6.5 million took part. What a great opportunity to turn lost revenue from alcohol sales into an inspirational way of bringing customers into your outlet!

Adam Russell, Director of Foodservice & Licensed at Britvic, says: “Currently 28% of consumers order tap water when they want a non-alcoholic drink. If 200 people visit you in a day, 56 could be spending £3-£5 on a low/no alternative. The missed sales could be as much as £100,000 or more per year.”

Customers still want a chance to meet friends in January, however, there aren’t many options that don’t involve alcohol. Be the place people can go to experience something different, while having a healthier start to the year. Try these ideas to pull customers in.

Mocktail masterclass

Cocktails’ cleaner cousins are a growth area in on-trade. CGA’s Mixed Drink Report shows ‘half of cocktail drinkers are now engaged with low/no alcohol variants [so] there is clearly a huge opportunity for operators and suppliers.’

Capitalise on this by putting on a mocktail masterclass. Get customers behind the bar having a go themselves. To make it more personal, when they book ask them their drink preferences (sweet, sour, bitter) and tailor the session to that. To encourage more spend, offer 20% off lunch or dinner on the day.

Coffee tasting

If you’re a venue that’s passionate about good coffee or you’d like to get noticed for your coffee off er, think about hosting a tasting event in January. Engage with your coffee supplier to see if they’ll host for you or provide tasting notes and samples. Charge a set fee for the tasting, however off er add-ons such as cakes or desserts to upsell and increase revenue.

Get quizzing

Quizzes are a great way to bump up trade at quieter times. Every week in January, give customers a half-price soft-drinks round for their team if they sign up to the quiz. Fiftynine per cent of consumers claim it is difficult to see what products are low or no alcohol in the fridge behind the bar, so display a softdrinks menu on tables so customers can appreciate your offering. You could also do 2-for-1 mocktails.

Drinks pairings

In a similar way to wines, off er soft drinks suggestions for dishes throughout January. Some pairings could be as simple as a really good mineral water, or as decadent as an iced mint chocolate shot to accompany dessert. Be sure to get some alcohol-free wines and beers in there too. Talk to your suppliers to get their recommendations.

“6.5m people took part in Dry January in 2021.    ”
- Alcohol Change UK

Veganuary Mash-up

January is also becoming synonymous with Veganuary so why not combine the two in one event (and do a bit of market research while you’re at it)? Plant milks are hugely popular, with Oatly reporting that 32% of UK households now buy dairy-free milk. Use this to your advantage by hosting a pre-bookable vegan meal with a hot-drinks tasting session afterwards.

Give customers small samples of coffees and hot chocolates to try with the different milks. Ask for feedback to determine the favourites. You could even off er a discounted hot drink on their next visit to you.

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