Presentation is everything if you want to boost soft drink sales. Coca-Cola Enterprises outlines the perfect serve.
More than ever before, soft drinks are an essential part of the product mix in pubs. Longer opening hours and a wider customer mix, along with factors such as the growth in pub food, more diverse consumer lifestyles and increased customer expectation of quality and choice have all contributed.
On average, soft drinks now represent about 15 per cent of outlet turnover. Pubs that actively develop and promote sales by serving quality branded soft drinks in the correct manner help to ensure that the customer is given great value for money and keeps coming back for more.
Soft drinks also offer good profit margins, which means that by building overall sales as well as trading up to bigger serving sizes, pubs can increase cash profits.
Recent trading up trials carried out by Coca-Cola Enterprises Limited (CCE) showed a 30 per cent growth in cash profits, on draught soft drinks, in pubs that increased the serving size.
Soft drinks sales can be split into three product areas: packaged, draught, and mixers. Pubs can increase sales and profits across all three areas by bearing in mind a few simple guidelines.
Packaged soft drinks
In the last few years, there has been a move towards greater levels of packaged sales in pubs. The soft drinks area is no exception. The latest figures from AC Nielsen show that packaged soft drinks equate to 54.5 per cent of sales by value in on premise (Nielsen September 2001).
CCE recommends that packaged soft drinks should ideally be served at 4C - so chilling in a fridge is an important part of the offer. In consumer tests, 80 per cent of consumers said they preferred their soft drinks pre-chilled and served over ice (Ipsos 1997). Adding a wedge of fresh fruit sends a message that the pub takes pride in the serving of soft drinks.
It is important to give your customers the choice of packaged and draught soft drinks. Recent research for Coca-Cola Great Britain indicates that 63 per cent of Coca-Cola consumers in pubs and bars prefer to drink packaged rather than draught (Capibus January 2002). The most popular expressed preference was to drink direct from the bottle - 27 per cent stated that this was their preferred choice. Twenty-one per cent chose the bottle poured over ice and 13 per cent chose draught.
The perfect serve for packaged soft drinks:
- ask the customer if they want to drink from the bottle or from a glass
- from the bottle - take a chilled bottle and place it with the brand facing the consumer on the bar
- from the glass - use a clean, cool branded glass, which gives the customer further reassurance of the quality of the drink
- add ice - ice cubes should be large and clear, and should be stored in a well drained ice bucket to stop them melting
- part pour the drink over the ice in front of the customer
- add the appropriate wedge of fresh fruit - lemon with Coca-Cola and lemonade, lime with tonic, cranberry and tomato juice, and orange with orange juice and orange carbonates.
- present the glass and bottle to the customer with the branding facing forward.
Draught soft drinks
Draught soft drinks offer a key opportunity to increase profits by trading up. Firstly, though, it is essential to get the basics right through simple checks. To ensure that draught soft drinks are always of the highest quality:
- clean the dispenser valve regularly
- check the temperature of the drink served. This should be 4C, as higher temperatures will lead to a loss of carbonation
- keep the condenser grill clear of dust
- check the level of CO2 in the cylinder
- rotate "bag in box" stock of concentrates, and check the dates of the stock
- always use the correct mix of syrup to carbonated water.
The perfect serve for draught soft drinks:
- ensure quality checks as above are in place
- take a clean, cool branded glass
- add quality ice
- pour the drink
- add a wedge of the appropriate fruit
- present to the customer with the branding to the front.
The benefits of trading up
Trading up to a bigger serving size is a winning strategy for both the publican and the consumer. Using a branded glass, such as the '"Coca-Cola" 16oz glass, as the standard serve for dispensed soft drinks has the benefit of increasing profits as well as giving the consumer a quality reassurance. A larger soft drink served with a meal or as part of a round of drinks greatly increases customer perception that soft drinks represent genuine value for money.
The successful results of trading up have been proven in practice time and again. Ann-Marie McGlynn, manager of the John Baird, Muswell Hill, part of the John Barras community pub brand operated by Scottish & Newcastle Retail, said: "Since we've introduced the 16oz 'Coca-Cola' glass as our standard serving, we have seen our sales increase by 27 per cent."
Mixers are an essential element in the majority of spirits sales, and so need to be paid as much attention as other parts of the soft drink offer. Using a branded bottled mixer as part of a well presented drink will help to ensure consistency and add to the customer's perception that the drink represents value for money.
The perfect serve for mixers:
- take a clean, cool 12oz glass
- fill the glass with quality ice
- add the required spirit
- part pour the bottled branded mixer over the ice
- add a wedge of the appropriate fresh fruit
- present the bottle and glass to the customer with the branding facing forward.
Three key guidelines
- Chill packaged soft drinks
- Trade up your draught soft drink sales by using branded glasses
- Take pride in the presentation of your soft drinks