My Wishlist for Drink Machine Menu Innovation and Bold Profit Growth is Now a Reality

My Wishlist for Drink Machine Menu Innovation and Bold Profit Growth is Now a Reality

By changing your perspective, challenges can quickly become opportunities. Over the past year-and-a-half, since joining Botrista as Chief Strategy Officer, my perspective has expanded tremendously. This role has provided me an opportunity to stay connected with restaurant executives, celebrating their wins, discussing their challenges and sharing ideas that may help them to reach their objectives. Many of the initiatives and challenges we discuss take me back to my experience as a franchisee and as President/COO at Zoup.

One of the most fundamental issues–and opportunities–for the restaurant industry is creating innovative food and beverage solutions that cater to continuously evolving consumer needs. Streamlined operations must remain top of mind throughout this innovation process. While many restaurant leaders agree that menu innovation drives incremental sales, we also agree that execution can be a challenge. 

By the time the innovation and implementation process are complete, consumers may have developed a taste for the next, new exciting menu item. Keeping pace with these rapidly shifting consumer trends puts pressure on restaurant teams; requiring access to consumption data, time and energy analyzing information, foresight into future trends and operational agility.

Beverage consumption trends are shifting more rapidly than ever. Drinks have become a key driver of incremental sales, brand differentiation, traffic during non-traditional dayparts, and competition within the industry. Restaurants are under pressure to offer unique and flavorful drink options that resonate across broad ranges of customer segments. Significant energy goes into identifying and marketing the most-likely-to-resonate food and drink pairings. Drink machine menu innovation has frankly become table stakes but guessing can be risky with such high stakes.

Here are some wishlist items I had and now hear from restaurant leaders who are prioritizing drink machine menu innovation:

1. Integrated data: Ideally consumption data, purchasing behavior trends, menu-performance and marketing can be layered to create holistic insight into menu innovation opportunities. By bringing together vast amounts of data, AI-powered analysis and machine learning tools, my team, restaurant partners and I are accomplishing what I could have only dreamed of as a restaurant operator: The ability to make the most informed, data-centric, results-driven beverage menu and marketing decisions imaginable.

2. Dedicated team of Beverage Program Directors:
More and more brands have on-boarded Beverage Program Leaders. Even convenience store chains are welcoming beverage researchers and leaders to the director- and VP-level ranks. Keeping up with beverage trends, data and innovation could easily be a full-time job. On the same token, a dedicated Beverage Director does not always make the budget cuts, even though a true dream team calls for one. Now Beverage Program Directors are an integral part of my team at Botrista. These core team members act as an extension to our restaurant partners’ team. They work closely to develop customized beverage menus that align with restaurant partners’ brand identity and meet the evolving needs of their customer bases. By analyzing drink consumption trends, reviewing food and drink pairing tendencies, curating in-demand, on-menu flavor profiles and developing LTO offers alongside marketing leaders, these VIPs are supporting meaningful, system-wide menu innovation. 

3. Expanded offers and customizations brought to life through cutting-edge automation: Traditional menu offerings often lack variety and fail to capitalize on emerging flavor trends. Adding new, manually-prepared options can be very time consuming. New ingredients must be procured, preparation processes must be established, portion control protocols must be set and communicated, franchisees and front-line employees need to be trained on prep procedures… These updates do not happen overnight, yet, your most loyal customers may develop a new craving overnight. Cutting-edge automation and drink machine equipment is opening doors to new possibilities and endless creation.

In fact, the accessibility of automated beverage stations is enabling incremental beverage sales, agile adaptability to new drink trends, and consistent dispensing of high-quality, globally-sourced ingredients for a fraction of the resources use in manual drink prep. Millions of freshly-blended drinks have been prepared by the leading automated beverage station. These drinks are being served across 34 U.S. states and growing.

Checkout the Botrista Pro here

The tools, resources and teams I had wished for as a restaurant operator have now become a reality. It is pretty cool to be an active part of solutions to challenges I faced as a restaurant leader. The cold cream on the freshly-blended iced frappe? These solutions are gaining backing from industry leaders like Don Fox and Kim Lopdrup who recognize the transformative potential of data-support drink machine menu curation and automated beverage platforms. Cheers to the incredible industry that keeps on innovating and giving back.

About Jason
Jason Valentine, Chief Strategy Officer for Botrista brings almost 30 years of restaurant industry experience to the table – including executive positions as both Franchisee and Franchisor. Valentine has served as President and COO of Zoup Eatery and has been featured on Restaurant Business News’ Power 20 list and is a regular speaker at industry leading conferences such as the Restaurant Leadership Conference, Fast Casual Executive Summit and more.

About Botrista
Botrista provides an automated beverage platform allowing foodservice operators to add a new drink category to their menu without the operational complexities. Operators can increase ticket size and beverage attachment by serving non-alcoholic craft beverages to younger generation consumers. The trendy innovative craft beverages include boba teas, smoothies, iced coffee, flavored lemonades, energy drinks, and more. Importantly, data shows these new options drive overall drink sales higher without cannibalizing existing soda sales. Thanks to valuable insights collected through their intelligent CloudBar system, they can guide your menu development with data backed confidence.