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Soft drinks ranging principles

With a growing selection of new products and trends to consider, making the right choice is important. So from exciting and innovative brands to those everyday staple sellers, we've got some tips to help you get range ready.

1. Share it out

The share of space in your fridge and founts on the bar should be proportional to the share of category sales in your outlet.

  • Split your range out by category
  • Where practical, divide each category up by good, better, best to understand the value between core, premium & super premium lines.
  • Try to understand your percentage share of cash sales and margin for each category, so you know how important each category is to your business.

2. Customer is king

Think about your current regulars, occasional customers and who you want to attract to your outlet in the future. Take time to identify and understand on what occasions they are likely to visit and consider what they may want to drink on these trips. This will help you make decisions on adding more products to your range to meet specific customer needs

  • Who does your range need to appeal to?
  • Who do you want to target as customers? Younger or older, male or female, families, kids, teens?
  • Do the products you stock match their needs?

Tip: Why not ask your customers what they would like to see stocked?

3. Tantalising treats

Don’t forget to leave space for new and different drink options. This can set you apart from the competition. Whilst they may not fly off the shelf, premium treat lines often deliver a higher cash margin per serve.

  • Consider the occasion your guests are on.
  • Do your guests have an opportunity to trade up for that special occasion?
  • 88% of consumers say they want an experience they cannot get at home [4]

Tip: Use point of sale and menus to help up-sell customers to these high margin lines.

4. Food for thought

If food is a core part of your outlet proposition, food and drink pairing is a must. Matching the right food with the right drink is becoming more important to consumers as they seek out enhanced experiences, and with range being an important driver to outlet choice, it is more important than ever to deliver great tasting food & drinks. 

  • The importance of food led occasions has grown significantly over the last 10 years.
  • Food pairing has always been the domain of wine and bottled water, but with the rise of the foodie generation, soft drinks and beers are now coming to the fore as perfect food partners.
  • Soft drink sales within foodservice surged by 46% in 2023 versus 2022 [1] so why not consider what drinks pair well with your food range.

Tip: Check out our food and drink pairing guide to cater for all your guests needs

5. Seasonal Spend

Seasons and events like Summer, Easter, Christmas, or even the World Cup and Wimbledon are great social get-togethers. Why not create a themed or seasonal drinks range to drive additional sales.

  • Consider the brands and categories that best suit the event or season.

6. Healthy heroes

Guests are increasingly demanding healthier lower/ non alcoholic options along with low / no sugar drinks so make sure you tap into this high growth space.

  • 60% of consumers are moderating their alcohol intake[2] and looking for interesting alternatives, including those which are healthier. Therefore it may be worth considering giving soft and hot drinks more space.
  • Don't forget your healthy hero's, With one in three people in the UK now rarely or never drinking alcohol, more and more visitors to licensed and foodservice venues are looking for drinks that offer added health benefits, such as protein, gut friendly live bacteria, B vitamins or CBD.

Tip: The average outlet needs around 35 soft drinks to cover all the bases.

7. Don't forget families

If families are your market, why not make the kids experience a little more fun. Happy kids are good for your pocket as well, so make sure you stock a great range of child friendly products. 

  • For young children, fun colourful fruity brands like Fruit Shoot are a must, with a range of great tasting flavours and non spill caps, you can't go wrong. 
  • For teens, their choice becomes a little more experimental, so stocking a range of interesting cordials, fruity carbonated drinks and flavoured waters will keep them smiling. 

Tip: Why not develop separate kids and teens drinks menu's with brands and serves relevant to the younger audience.

8. Keep it fresh

From adding seasonal specials to complement changes in your menus to stocking the next big thing it's important to review your range to stay one step ahead.

Trends and tastes are constantly changing, and we'll keep you updated with the latest seasonal advice on what's hot and what's not. 

[4] KAM - Competitive Socialising - Feb 22.pdf P5

[1] CGA, FS&L, MAT to 31.12.22

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