There's an untapped £100m worth of spirits sales in the casual dining sector, according to Diageo. The company today unveiled plans to help its customers unlock this potential.
The company has commissioned some bespoke research into the subject, drawing on CGA Peach Brandtrack and Elliotts for both quantitative and qualitative data. As a result, the company has expanded its sales team, and introduced a number of suggested serves to assist its customers in this sector.
Spirits is the fastest-growing alcohol category in casual dining, growing 17% year-on-year, while the casual dining segment on the whole is growing 6.8%.
'A trend towards a more casual culture of eating out is emerging and through our research we strongly believe that spirits present a huge growth opportunity in the casual eating occasion,' said Ronak Mashru, on-trade sales director at Diageo GB. 'We encourage operators to think about how they maximise this opportunity by inspiring consumers to choose spirits, educating their staff to upsell, and supporting them to achieve consistent quality through the perfect serve.'
The company's new serves are cuisine led, rather than paired with specific dishes. A hard shake containing Bulleit bourbon and peanut butter, for example, falls under the category of American casual dining, while a South American outlet might benefit from a Don Julio Blanco Paloma. For the premium end of the casual dining segment, one suggestion is A Bloody Easy Mary, which contains no more than Smirnoff, tomato juice, Tabasco and Worcestershire, garnished with cherry tomatoes.
'Bar staff are the star of the show,' said Mashru at today's presentation. 'That takes time, training and investment, but we're willing to do that.' That training includes Diageo's online programme Flow, its Bar Academy, and its Business of Bars programme.