Every successful bar offers drinks that serve a purpose. Aperitifs and digestifs do just that. But, many bar owners—both new and experienced—shy away from these important drinks. I’ve heard excuses like the drinks are not what the market demands. Others have told me they simply don’t know what aperitifs and digestifs are. Make no mistake about it, both drinks can be a benefit for your business and should be included on your drink menu.
One reason to include aperitifs and digestifs is they encourage patrons to buy food. Aperitifs such as Campari, Lillet, or a glass of dry champagne, are low-sugar, low-alcohol drinks meant to spark appetites without overwhelming the senses. A study by the National Center of Biotechnological Information found that consuming light amounts of alcohol before meals can cause people to eat more. Not only will your customers be staying in your restaurant longer, they may be more inclined to try new things on your menu. This can increase your average ticket price and increase your overall food and beverage sales.
Some might argue that having customers stay longer hurts table turnover rates, and can decrease the income of servers. However, this argument ignores that higher tickets typically yield bigger tips. Lower table turnover also allows your servers more time to interact with your customers. This gives your staff more time to make a lasting impression with each customer which could result in more return business.
On the other hand, digestifs—whose main purpose is to aid digestion following a meal—can help add an air of sophistication to your bar and leave your customers feeling satisfied after their meal. They feature depth, herbs, bitterness, and spice in high-alcohol content drinks which can relax your customers. Many popular digestifs include whiskey, bourbon, or brandy.
Digestifs are important to have at your bar if your restaurant serves large portions of food. Overeating is one of the most common problems for restaurant goers and the feeling of a ‘food coma’ can keep customers from returning. Having a menu of different digestifs can help your customers avoid catching a ‘food coma’ and make them eager to return to try out more items from your food menu.