The casual dining sector has seen great growth over the past few years. It seems Britain loves well-priced food in a laid-back atmosphere, and who can blame us. We’ve noticed the importance that many casual dining style outlets have placed on their drinks offering, capturing after work drinkers and late night occasions with an emphasis on spirits and cocktails.

This trend for evening and late night drinks away from busy bars or noisy nightclubs is not new but one that most casual restaurants can enjoy. We found that with the right range, cocktail menu and all importantly, staff training, spirit volumes can grow in this sector.

In general, it’s our belief that having confident and knowledgeable staff will help when it comes to increasing your sales. Every individual is different, as is every venue and every menu so we always like to ensure that we take a unique approach to training. To put our hunch to the test we worked with a popular national High Street casual dining restaurant developing staff knowledge, with cocktail and spirit training.

First, we rolled out spirits training for selected sites, covering the history, production and mixability of all major drinks categories. We then expanded on this with training on how to upsell and confidently use the gained knowledge to enhance the customer's experience.
This was followed up with cocktail training for all team members both behind the bar and working on the floor. The training covered preparation, drink production, the importance of ice and garnish and how to balance flavours, as well as how to easily remember recipes. For floor staff, specific training covered how to upsell to cocktails and how to describe them to customers with passion.

We were delighted with the effect the training had. In the 3 months after training, spirits volumes in the restaurant sites that were given cocktail and spirits training were up 13%! This compared to a decline of 2% in those sites that did not get the training.