Technology makes drink programs—and profits—easier than ever.

It’s no secret that restaurants typically operate on thin margins, because food generally provides small profits. However, specialty beverages, which offer much larger margins than food, have long served as a way for restaurants to diversify their menus and drive add-on sales. Now, as the pandemic continues and consumers continue to turn toward unique beverages to satisfy cravings or serve as a refreshing addition to a meal, signature drink offerings can help restaurants boost the bottom line.

Yet for all their power to drive a profit, specialty beverages, such as coffees, iced teas, lemonades, and more, have traditionally created challenges for quick-service operators. Take The Halal Guys for example. Andrew Eck, vice president of marketing for the brand, says he’s seen premium beverages become even more popular amid the pandemic, making it even more critical to offer them. Yet doing so hasn’t always been simple.

“House-made specialty beverages take a lot of training, and even once that’s completed, not every employee walks away with the same understanding of recipes,”Eck says. “We’ve also tested bottled beverages, but it was challenging to manage inventory and predict trends. Plus, our operations team already has so many things to manage that adding more SKUs can become burdensome and offset the benefit of offering them.”

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However, a Seattle-based The Halal Guys franchisee suggested a solution to the brand’s specialty beverage challenges: Botrista, a next-generation automated drink dispenser, which makes offering and executing house-crafted beverages fast and effortless for quick-service brands.

Unlike other beverage dispensers, Botrista’s DrinkBot features a customizable drink library and offers a wide range of options restaurants can choose from. The equipment is also small, so it doesn’t take up much floor space, and it requires minimal labor to operate. Additionally, Botrista’s patented technology ensures each drink is crafted and portioned correctly every time.

So far, The Halal Guys has tested Botrista in two locations—one at the Seattle franchisee’s store and one in a corporate store in New York. Eck says a third will launch for testing soon.

“Botrista uses robotic production to ensure every beverage is the same regardless of the day part or store where it’s served,” Eck says. “Our back of house space is precious, but with the machine’s small size and big impact, we’re already seeing positive results.”

By simply adding 13 different beverages to the menu, including infused teas, lemonades, and more, the company has seen a positive guest response.

“At our corporate location alone, our average check has grown 17 percent over the same period as last year,” Eck says. “While there are many contributing factors to that growth, the main factor is the Botrista machine, which we believe has contributed significantly to the increase.”

In a time where every sale counts, the benefits of increasing check sizes cannot be overstated. Yet, Eck notes, that’s not all Botrista brings to the table.

“When I heard we were going to be testing robotic premium beverages, I thought that sounded complex,” he says. “But after meeting and spending just 15 minutes with the Botrista team, I was confident I could make all 13 new beverages myself. The interface is so intuitive, and the Botrista team is incredibly easy to work with. Making premium beverages really could not be any easier.”

To learn how you can simplify your specialty beverage program and boost sales, visit the Botrista website.

By Peggy Carouthers

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