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Build a drinks menu that works

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Written by Stephanie Salzone
19 September 2020
Design and marketing for Bidfood Australia

Over the years we have seen beverage lists in every shape, colour and size you could imagine. But, what really makes a good menu? Here’s our top six tips and tricks to build the perfect offering.

1.    The right amount of variety

Having options is important, but knowing when to stop is key. Try to find the right balance of choice without overwhelming customers. It is important to start with a list that will appeal to the majority of wine drinkers in your area. In Australia, these include sparkling, white, sweet, light and dark reds. Once you have the basics, you can start to branch out by utilising interesting blends and including international varietals. Most importantly, follow the rule ‘quality over quantity’.

2.    You show off

Wine drinkers love to know where their liquid gold is coming from so be sure to put the region on your list, particularly when it is a single varietal or cellared vintage. Being surrounded by an abundance of amazing wineries around the country is a privilege, so the more information you put on your wine list, the more enticing the wine will be become.

3.    Glass, bottle or both?

To get the most out of your wine it’s important to know how to sell it on your menu. With sparkling, sauvignon blanc and shiraz being the common big sellers, ensure you have at least one of each on offer by the glass. Outside of the above varietals consider drinkability and price, and most importantly, consider wastage costs. Opening a highly priced wine for one glass can negatively impact wastage costs if you don’t sell the rest of the bottle.

4.    Hey, can you read that?

Whilst putting the right thing on your menu needs consideration, being able to read what’s on there is just as important! Ensure you make the most of the page, keep your titles bold and your text clear. Think about your clientele. If you’re a quirky inner-city laneway bar, keep the style fresh and play around with the layout. For a family restaurant, keep it simple – not everyone is going to be able to navigate their way around playful text.

5.    Time for change 

Find a balance between consistency and change, mixing up your offering throughout the year keeps your customers excited, and your venue relevant. As the season changes, your menu should too! It’s common to serve whites in summer and reds in winter, but why not consider mixing it up with some surprising suggestions. Chardonnay and riesling are quite enjoyable in cooler months as you don’t need to serve them as cold and crisp as a sauvignon blanc. A red varietal like pinot noir for example, is a lighter style of red so it works well when the temperature heats up, as does a creamy style grenache - try serving it over ice! Other alternatives could include using up remaining red wines from winter orders in a summery sangria with lots of fruit in a chilled glass. Let’s not forget the summer favourite, spritz! A great way to use up prosecco or sparkling wine that you may have on your list by the glass.

6.    Perfect pairs

Choosing the best drink to pair with your meal may be more confronting to some than others, so why not add some pairing suggestions to your menu? Whether it be on a specials board or a small icon next to favourite dishes on your menu, by making a suggestion it might trigger your customers to try something different or spend a little more money in your venue.

Most of all, ask your patrons! They are coming to your venue because they like what you’re already offering. Chat to them and find out what can make their experience even better!

To browse our exclusive range of wines plus beers and spirits, check out gulp for this spring/summer season!

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