Monday, November 23, 2015

Can Growlers Help Restaurants get Customers back from C-Stores and Grocery Stores?

Millennials adoption of Grocerant niche mix and match fresh prepared meal components has been documented for the better part of five years as regular readers of this blog know.  Too the craft beer industry Millennials could very well be the sales driver to elevate the industry to it next level according to Foodservice Solutions® Grocerant Guru®.

Grocery stores and C-stores have been garnering customers offering Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat fresh prepared food.  Recently C-stores have been garnering Millennials by offering Growlers as well.  Now Zpizza International Inc. may have cracked the code on boosting alcohol sales in the fast-casual segment by empowering Millennials to quench their thirst for discovery with Mix and Match self-serve craft beer.  

Zpizza is but one of a growing number of fast-casual concepts experimenting with self-service beer technology. Other concepts on the West Coast include gourmet hot dog purveyors Dog Haus and Br├Ątworks, as well as Blast 825 Pizza.

The successful growth of the Grocerant niche is being extended into the craft been beverage sector and is about to change the restaurant business model once again.  Based on relatively new technology that some contend could be a game changer in attracting craft-beer-loving Millennials while reducing labor cost in the restaurant. That is a game changed customer adoption that saves money! 

Currently most fast-casual chains carry craft beer and wine in bottles and cans, but the limited-service model can inherently hinder alcohol sales beyond one drink. Customers are less likely to get back in line for a second drink, and workers are often too young to handle alcohol, or are not trained to upsell. As a result, few concepts within the segment have put much effort into alcohol sales.

Chris Bright, president of Zpizza. has transformed three units into Zpizza “tap rooms,” which feature a beer wall with 10 to 20 taps. Each restaurant offers a unique collection of local craft brews on draft,   Bright stated “After customers IDs are scanned, customers can open a digital tab and pour their own draft, paying by the fluid ounce. That allows them to taste an ounce or two of different options before they settle on a “long pour.” If they want a second drink, they can get it themselves without having to wait for a server or table runner.”

Traditional Zpizza units offer beer and wine in cans and bottles, as is relatively common in fast casual. But those units typically see only about 2 percent of sales from alcohol, according to Bright.  However, “at tap room locations with the beer wall, alcohol sales have reached as high as 20 percent” 

Success does leave clues and attracting Millennials back into restaurants with less labor, higher sales, and increased bottom line profit is a clue for all.  Could you use Outside Eye’s to drive inside profits?  Contact or visit for more information. 

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