Game-changing Restaurants Embrace The Uncertainty Of The Pandemic, With Cocktails To-go, Curbside Pickup, Delivery And New Twists On Outdoor Dining

Minneapolis (February 5, 2021) – Restaurants have been reeling from the pandemic’s impact on their business, according to the Beverage Information Group’s 2020 Cheers On-Premise Handbook. But since the coronavirus took hold in the U.S. in March 2020, savvy operators have embraced game-changing tactics, from online ordering and cashless payments to cocktails to-go and curbside order pickup.

For example, Thyme Bar in New York, which had just opened months before the Covid-19 lockdown, created Thyme 2 Go pre-chilled and pre-diluted bottled cocktails. Tiger Fork, a Hong Kong street-food-inspired eatery in Washington D.C., offered its most popular cocktails as adult juice boxes priced from $10 to $15.

Palette in San Francisco sold musically inspired cocktails for takeout and delivery. Packaged in an apothecary jar, the drinks served two and were priced at $18. Italian restaurant chain North Italia had five different cocktail kits so that guests can mix up signature drinks at home. 

Mujō, scheduled to open as a pop-up sushi restaurant in Atlanta in March 2020, pivoted to a to-go only pop-up model with an omakase-level sushi and sake program that opened in late May. HomeState, a three-unit Tex-Mex chain based in Los Angeles, decided to take delivery in-house in mid April 2020 after becoming dissatisfied with the third-party delivery providers 

As lockdowns lifted, many consumers were eager to get back to dining out, though many preferred to sit outside. Heated tents, igloos and greenhouses began popping up to protect guests dining outdoors from inclement weather. HalfSmoke restaurant in Washington, D.C., and the Kennedy Rooftop bar in Chicago both created "Winter Wonderlands" outdoors, complete with igloos that guests could reserve.

When asked from what type of on-premise operation they are interested in ordering alcohol from, the plurality (26%) of respondents to a Lightspeed/Mintel survey conducted in July 2020 said an outdoor bar. And of those, 19% said they would be interested in ordering alcohol for takeout from an outdoor bar; 36% would be interested in drinking alcohol while visiting the outdoor bar, and 16% would be interested in ordering alcohol from it for delivery. 

About the 2020 Cheers On-Premise Barometer Handbook

The Beverage Information Group’s 2020 Cheers On-Premise Barometer Handbook is a comprehensive source of information on U.S. on-premise trends. It includes consumption and projection information by category and by market, tracks leading brands and consumer preferences and demographics. The publications can be purchased at www.bevinfostore.com or by calling Sherai Falcon at 763-383-4423.