Expert Advice on Hospitality Topics

Drink Recipes and Their Impact on Cost Reductions and Profitability

Posted by Nick Kaoukis on Tue, Sep, 06, 2011 @ 11:09 AM
drink recipesBy Elizabeth Godsmark
Atlantic Publishing
Just because mixes aren't a drink's main ingredients, one shouldn't ignore their impact upon your operation's profitability. There is considerable scope for trimming costs in this area. Despite being sold in small portions, drink mixes have a high overall sales volume; it is also predictable and consistent. Review the range of drink mixes used in your establishment. It all helps to reduce costs.
  • Fresh orange juice. It is worth investing in a good commercial juicer for orange juice. A handy tip is to rinse oranges under hot water before placing them in the juicer - the juice yield will be higher.

  • From scratch drink mixes. Preparing a whole range of drink mixes from scratch is too time-consuming, and all too often, results in inconsistent quality. You're better off buying ready-made mixes. Test samples of mixes before making a decision. Prepared mixes can vary considerably in taste and quality.

  • Cut garnish costs. Your choice of garnishes to accompany drink mixes can, quite literally, eat into your profits. Bartenders are notorious for nibbling olives, cherries, pineapple wedges, chocolate shavings, peppermint sticks, pretzels, etc. Remove temptation. Store garnishes in airtight containers in a cooler, away from temptation. Also, establish par levels for fruit garnishes and only prepare enough for one shift.

  • Unusual juices. Use single-portion 6-ounce cans for less-frequently-served juices. Trade higher cost for reduced wastage, time saving and convenience.

The recipes you choose to feature on your drinks menu must do more than satisfy customer require­ments. Plan carefully; a lot of thought needs to go also into keeping costs down, while at the same time maintaining a fine reputation for quality and imagination. This is no mean task, but the following simple suggestions may help:
  • Communicate your recipe preparation techniques. Add a brief description about your unique preparation techniques underneath each recipe on the drinks menu. Tempt your customers to try "something different." The secret lies in your method of communication, rather than in the actual recipes themselves.

  • Highballs. Although highballs can be served in a variety of different-sized glasses, the ideal size for maximum efficiency and controlling costs is a 9-ounce glass. It accommodates the exact proportions for a standard highball recipe. The glass looks full to capacity; the customer is happy. Also, you know that the portions of ingredients are correct.
  • Recipes on napkins. Dare to be different. Get some recipes you want to promote printed on napkins. It's different, and it's a good marketing tool. It also channels customers into ordering the recipes that you want them to buy. Choose the "special" recipes on the basis of higher profit margins, but promote them as "added value" recipes.
  • Mobile mini-bar. As well as serving recipe drinks from the main bar, introduce a mini-bar on wheels. Get a bartender to wheel it around, selling "taster recipes" at promotional prices. The spontaneity of this approach is excellent for generating extra income.


This article is an excerpt from the Food Service Professional Guide to Controlling Liquor Wine & Beverage Costs, authored by Elizabeth Godsmark, published by Atlantic Publishing Company. This excerpt has been reprinted with permission of the publisher. To purchase this book go to:

Atlantic Publishing Company

Topics: Bar Management, drink recipe, Drink Recipes