Summer’s Hottest Beverage
As restaurants and beverage retailers feel the continuing slide of soda sales, some executives are taking a cue from childhood entrepreneurship in the form of a roadside stand. That’s right, lemonade is on the up and many establishments are getting creative with the classic summer beverage.
In a time that sees a struggle to convince customers to upgrade their tap water option, lemonade has again provided an option that is more appealing to customers and offers creative ways for restaurant owners to increase their profits. According to Craig Dunway, president of Penn Station East Coast Subs, the focus of lemonade’s appeal is on freshness. Using an old-fashioned hand press juicer in his restaurants, Dunway can display the lemonade option separate from sodas and show the more natural process of lemon-to-lemonade. In addition to the positive response from customers being able to see the process of their beverage being prepared, Dunway is able to sell his lemonade at a premium over other beverage offerings and ease the sting of lower soda sales.
Other restaurants are getting creative with their lemonade options and crafting summer offerings to drive business. In March of this year, Chick-fil-A began combining vanilla soft serve ice cream in their already popular lemonade. The combination was so successful that the “Frosted Lemonade” became a permanent menu option. In a more adult fashion, a pub in New York City called The Daily is offering lemonade drinks as part of it’s “Boozy Lemonade Hour.” The Daily’s head bartender, Nacho Jiminez, crafts lemonades that patrons can drink sans alcohol, or add spirits such as vodka, gin, tequila or Irish whiskey for $7-8. “The idea is to keep it really fresh, simple and delicious,” Jiminez said.
The freshness and simplicity of lemonade is on pace to have a high-earning summer and should continue to grow this year. While it’s highly unlikely that soft drinks such as soda will ever vanish from restaurant menus, it is certainly a possibility that beverage alternatives such as lemonade will continue to eat away at the carbonated market share.