How to Present Beverage Choices

Posted on November 20, 2011


I can sense the hostility. I can feel the irritation. And yet I am instructed to offer bar drinks. And since I am part salesman, I feel a sense of responsibility to sell bar drinks. And that’s regardless of whether I have to or not.

Occasionally, I mismatch offering alcohol to the uninterested patron. And here are some of the responses:

We don’t drink.”

I’m not going to drink with my family here.”

Stop right there, I’ll have water.”

I know that some people don’t drink for their health. I know some do not drink for moral reasons. There are some people who do drink, but do not care to partake when they are with their children.

There are also less pleasant reasons. There are people who quit drinking because they had to. There are those that may know a problem drinker. I am empathetic of these reasons and the others.

And then there are those who just aren’t drinking.  Not tonight.  Not right now.  More than anything, I am aware that the majority who dine out will not drink.  This is regardless of the reason.

So here I stand, in between being in the business of taking care of people and the business of people having a good time, which involves offering wine, beer and cocktails. How do I proceed?

I offer non alcoholic drinks and alcoholic drinks at the same time.

My pitch starts off with:

We have Coke, Iced Tea, and other soft drinks as well as Chardonnay, Cabernet, and Craft Beer on tap. What can I start you off with?”

They are starting off with something. Do not fail to offer a bar drink, but more importantly do not fail to let them decide. Offer both.

The last thing you want to do is lose them at the gate. Greeting a patron is a crucial moment for the guest experience. As such it is tightly tied to the health of the business. Starting off on the right foot and making a good impression on the patron is as vitally important as selling products.

Never forget, you are in the hospitality industry. You are taking care of people for a living. Likewise, exemplary selling is about meeting needs and making customers feel good about their buying decisions, while making money in the process. Offering both non-alcoholic and alcoholic drinks is the best way to meet the incongruent needs of the business. Be sure you are taking care of everyone. Offer both.

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