The burgeoning growth of functional and healthful beverages has the potential to flow into the foodservice industry.
Farm to Shaker
The Beetroot Kanji cocktail at ROOH in San Francisco uses a beetroot shrub and all parts of the beet plant as the base for a drink with tequila, Himalayan salt and spices. At Daisies in Chicago, Chef Joe Frillman takes excess and “ugly” produce from his brother’s Frillman Farms and ferments them for use in homemade root beers and kombucha. He once also took in excess apple cider from a local farm and made a sipping vinegar on draft for use in non-alcoholic, restorative drinks as well as cocktails. Frillman even makes a vinegar using leftover wine from glass pours.
80%: The percentage of operators who agree that premium beverage flavors can help them stand out from the competition. Source: Datassential
It’s easier and cheaper for consumers to try out a new beverage product or flavor than it is to try new foods, according to Datassential. Worst case scenario, they don’t love it and end up with a few less dollars in their pockets. As such, the research firm encourages chains and even independents to consider working trendy beverage flavors into the menu as limited-time offers or specials to test the waters (pun intended) and gauge sales and interest as a more permanent, revenue-boosting item.
Beverage Design Toss-Up
It’s the age-old question: Should restaurants offer fountain-style beverages, single-serve packaged beverages or both? While consumption of fountain and bottled beverages in restaurants is similar, most growth comes from packaged beverages, per Datassential. About 75 percent of quick-serve operators have reach-in coolers compared with slightly less than 60 percent of operators who have soda fountains. Fountains may offer operators an edge in terms of lower operating costs, profitability and small storage space requirements, while packaged beverages allow for a wider variety of suds and stills.
Alcohol-Free Menu Mentions
- Revival, Mighty Cleanse and other juices for restorative health at Park Group Café in San Francisco.
- Cheap Date menu of alcohol-free and low-alcohol drinks at Rose’s Luxury in Washington, D.C.
- Vibrations list of restorative tonics at abcV in New York.
Don’t Say “Mocktail”
Call them alcohol-free or non-alcoholic — Andrew Freeman & Co. says the word “mocktail” is out. These drinks are still in, though, with house-made tonics, shrubs, elixirs, tinctures, sodas, and fresh-pressed fruit and vegetable juices for vitality, health and energy.
Functional Menu Mentions
- Chill-latte infused with CBD oil and CBD-enhanced tonic juices at the Green Goddess Café in Stowe, Vt.
- CBD add-on for smoothies at Harlow restaurant in Portland, Ore.
- CBD elixir with turmeric and ashwagandha, an herb touted for its stress-reducing properties, at Juice Crafters in Los Angeles.
Source: Consultancy Baum + Whiteman’s 2019 Food and Beverage Trends Report
Functional Beverage Equipment
- Carbonated taps for house-made kombucha and naturally flavored sodas
- Reverse osmosis water-filtration systems and taps for alkaline still water
- Separate brewers for brewing mushroom and other functional teas
- Extra tools and vessels for making CBD-infused and other beverages with functional properties
- Beverage fountains for natural sodas and iced teas