Boost your bottom line: Proven tactics for skyrocketing beverage sales in 2023’s inflationary climate


This article is the first in a series of five articles to promote Delaget’s 2022 QSR Operational Index – an annual report that shares stats and figures from over 6,000 QSR locations for sales, costs, employees, loss, and customer experience.  

Quenching a Thirst for Profits 

With 2023's inflationary climate making margins tighter than ever, QSR franchisees and operators must get creative to stay afloat. Focusing on increasing QSR beverage sales offers an exciting opportunity for revenue growth.  
In this article, we'll explore why beverage sales are crucial for your bottom line and provide you with actionable tips to increase your beverage sales.  

Why are beverage sales so important to margins? 

In the tempestuous seas of QSR finances, beverage sales act as a buoy, keeping your bottom line afloat. Beverages generally come with a lower cost of production, and the ability to upsell and customize them makes them valuable liquid assets. Plus, with inflation sending food costs through the roof, maximizing QSR beverage sales is the life raft your business needs. 

When it comes to profit margins, drinks often leave food items high and dry. As a result, focusing on boosting beverage sales can make a significant difference in your overall profitability. Now that you know the importance of beverage sales let's dive into the tips and tricks that will make your sales overflow. 


How many beverages should I be selling?

To answer this question, let’s benchmark your store’s performance. In 2022, the average QSR operator saw beverages hit 9.53% of sales on average. This was down -0.63% from 2021.  

The same operators sold an average of 0.63 beverages per transaction. We recommend your goal be 0.85-1 beverage per transaction—Lofty, but it will surely bolster profits and improve your overall profitability due to the high margins on beverages.  

For more QSR data and insights like these, download the 2022 QSR Operational Index. This Index includes data from 6,000+ operators across the US and shares insights for sales, losses, employee wages and turnover, customer experience, and more. 


All hands on deck: train and incentivize employees 

Your employees play a crucial role in increasing QSR beverage sales. Invest in training your employees on the importance of beverage sales to your bottom line and teach them effective upselling and cross-selling techniques. Consider offering incentives for achieving specific sales targets or upselling goals. 

By fostering a motivated and engaged workforce, you'll create a team that's dedicated to making your QSR beverage sales soar. 


Upselling and cross-selling techniques 

There's nothing like a good upsell or cross-sell to boost your QSR beverage sales. By encouraging customers to try a larger size, a premium option, or a beverage that pairs well with their meal, you can significantly increase your profits.   

To get the most out of upselling and cross-selling, train your staff to make personalized recommendations based on customers' orders. Create a positive, engaging atmosphere that makes customers feel valued and ready to indulge in an extra treat. 

Encourage customers to try a larger size: 

  • "Would you like to make it a combo meal with a larger soda for only a few cents more?"
  • "Did you know you can upgrade to a larger soda for just a small upcharge?" 
  • "Would you like to try our large soda for just a little extra?" 
  • "Can I interest you in a larger soda for a better value today?" 
  • "Would you like to quench your thirst with our large soda for just a bit extra?" 

Encourage a premium option such as a shake, smoothie, or frosted beverage: 

  • "Would you like to try our new premium milkshake with your meal today?" 
  • "Can I interest you in a refreshing smoothie to complement your order?" 
  • "Did you know we offer a delicious, frosted beverage that pairs perfectly with your meal?" 
  • "Would you like to upgrade your drink to a premium shake for a small additional charge?" 
  • "Can I recommend our irresistible premium smoothie to complete your meal?"  

Add-on a beverage: 

  • "Would you like to make that a meal with a soda?" 
  • “What can I get you to drink with that?” 
  • "Can I get you a drink to go with your order?" 
  • "Did you want to add a soda to your meal for a few cents more?" 
  • "Can I recommend adding a refreshing soda to your order?" 

Shake it up: Offer a variety of beverages 

Variety is the spice of life, and it's no different when it comes to beverages. To increase QSR beverage sales, try offering a wide range of drink options if you are able to or have control over your product offerings and menu mix.  
From fizzy sodas to refreshing iced teas and from fruity lemonades to fancy specialty drinks, a diverse menu will cater to different tastes and preferences, ensuring that customers can always find something to quench their thirst. 

When considering which beverages to add to your menu, don't forget to pay attention to current trends and local preferences. By staying on top of the latest drink crazes, you'll keep customers coming back for more. 

Additionally, with Third-Party Delivery on the rise, it’s important to offer bottled and canned beverages as offerings on your delivery app menus. Consumers prefer these sealed beverages for delivery AND they’re easier for drivers to travel with as they can’t spill.  

Use reporting and data to increase QSR beverage sales 

Data is your secret weapon when it comes to increasing QSR beverage sales. With Delaget Coach, you can add a tile to your QSR operational dashboard to show beverages as a % of sales and the average # of beverages on each transaction. This way, you can see these metrics at a glance and continue to coach your teams to success in meeting their beverage sales goals.  

With these comprehensive reporting tools, you can analyze sales data, identify top-selling and underperforming items, and make informed decisions about menu offerings, pricing, and promotions. 

Don't just collect data - act on it! Use these insights to refine your beverage sales strategies, optimize your inventory, and capitalize on emerging trends. As you make data-driven decisions, you'll see your QSR beverage sales grow. 

Float on: Embrace the future of QSR beverage sales 

As you navigate the choppy waters of 2023's inflationary climate, remember that increasing QSR beverage sales is a life raft for your bottom line. By implementing the tips and tactics outlined in this blog post and leveraging Delaget's powerful solutions, you can make your beverage sales overflow and sail toward a brighter, more profitable future. 



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