A few weeks prior, our restaurant consultants rounded up menu ideas for the latest spring restaurant trend: beverages. From happy hour cocktails to seasonal coffee drinks and add-on beverages, consumers are expanding their tastes beyond water and soda and looking for something more.

Recently, Nation’s Restaurant News (NRN) shared editorial content written by Botrista, a beverage technology company making waves in the craft beverage space.  Using machine technology, “Botrista provides automated beverage solutions to foodservice operators. Operators can increase ticket size and beverage attachment by serving non-alcoholic craft beverages to younger generation consumers. The trendy innovative craft beverages include boba teas, smoothies, iced coffee, flavored lemonades, energy drinks, and more. Importantly, data shows these new options drive overall drink sales higher without cannibalizing existing soda sales.”

But Botrista’s content for NRN goes beyond a sales-pitch for their craft beverage machinery. Leveraging their access to a large chain restaurant, Botrista collected data that aligns with projects about beverage trends, and asks restauranteurs to think beyond alcoholic beverages to increase sales growth. “Leveraging the power of artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, and a wealth of data gathered from millions of cups sold across 34 states, Botrista is setting a new standard for beverage menu curation,” states the NRN article.

Botrista founder, Sean Hsu, whose background includes robotics for Tesla, says, “We’ve collected from millions of cups sold across the nation, we’re able to create beverage menus and recipes that perfectly cater to the diverse tastes of consumers. As craft beverage categories evolve frequently, we believe that AI analytic tools and content generative tools will enable restaurants to capitalize the trending beverages in their outlets.”

Partnering with a chain restaurant with presence across several states, Botrista was able to maximize the potential of AI to improve data collection. Their findings go beyond a national penchant for seasonal coffee syrup, for example, and digs into geographical data useful to owners of chains and independent restaurants alike. “This included an analysis of preferred sweetness levels in different regions, the non-alcoholic beverage cuisine pairing, as well as suggesting selling opportunities based on the most popular flavors and pairings,” explains the NRN post. This data was, in turn, used to drive menu development, not just seasonally, but geographically. “Armed with this insight, the restaurant chain was able to adjust its menu offerings to better cater to the preferences of local customers.”

At National Restaurant Consultants, we believe menu engineering is key to pleasing customers and increasing profit margins at the same time. Data analysis is the crucial piece to successful menu engineering, and so, harnessing the power of AI to collect and analyze specific data can only maximize menu engineering efforts.

“Additional data can also be harvested simply asking guest preferences and gathering input from staff,” advises Richard Weil, owner and principal of National Restaurant Consultants. “Beverage offerings—day and night—are profitable.  It is the product mix dynamic that will drive customer traffic.”

To learn more about Botrista’s beverage research project, read the NRN post here. To being menu engineering your restaurant’s offerings and maximize on beverage trends for spring and summer, contact a restaurant consultant today.

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