Bottles lined up at a dark bar

Online Training and E-Learning

How to Set Up Takeaway and Delivery in Your Bar

Boost your drink sales by learning how to launch a cocktail takeaway and delivery service in your bar. 

Authors: Iain McPherson, founder of Cocktail innovation Panda and Co., Bastien Ciocca and Andrew Ho, co-founders of Hope and Sesame and bar consultant Lucas Lopez Davalos. 

Estimated reading time: 20 minutes 

Rise of the takeaway

The rise of takeaway and delivery services has seen bars and venues across the globe diversify revenue streams and reach more customers.   

Learn from Iain McPherson, founder of cocktail innovation collective Panda and Co., Bastien Ciocca and Andrew Ho, co-founders of China’s leading testing ground for cocktail innovation, Hope and Sesame, and bar consultant Lucas Lopez Davalos as they look at the benefits, challenges and tips for launching your own takeaway and delivery service.

Bar Takeaway and Delivery Benefits

  • Potential for Increased Sales - Sales can be increased by approximately 25%, depending on production capacity, product type and local demand.  
  • Optimized production time and increased production capacity - Using the daytime hours when the bar is traditionally closed can provide an opportunity to focus on takeaway cocktail production and distribution.  
  • A Greater Bar Experience - With a good database of clients, you can remember birthdays and anniversaries and send a toast to their homes to celebrate. Alternatively, you can offer a benefit or discount to encourage them to come to the bar to toast with friends on the week of their birthday. 

Bar Takeaway and Delivery Challenges

  • Increased volume of work - It is vital to think about production times and that they do not overlap with the regular activity of the bar. 
  • Less contact with the customer - Online sales add distance between you and your customer. By constantly evaluating your offering, you can review and adapt to help the impact on your customer experience.  
  • Product and logistics - One of the most important things to consider is the cost of packaging and logistics - is the product suitable for transport? Can it withstand the shock of the trip, temperature and will it arrive as expected? 

9 Top Tips for Takeaway and Delivery

1. Simplify the Offer 

  • Too much choice is overwhelming. Keep your online offering to a maximum of six cocktails per bar. A more straightforward offering will make it easier for bars to batch multiple cocktails  in line with supply and demand.  
  • Consider options that will help keep the costs of raw materials down and add value through the drink's preparation.  
  • An excellent way to use up raw materials  is by including a non-alcoholic cocktail or a delicious kombucha. 

2. Find Efficiencies 

  • Balance production hours versus revenue. Putting your shop online where customers browse and order saves valuable time. 
  • If customers can order in advance and choose a time slot for pick-up or delivery, you can schedule production at a specific time in the week.  

3. Be Smart with Ingredients 

  • Find substitutions for perishable ingredients. For example, we swap fresh lime or lemon with an acid blend solution that can be refrigerated, saving preparation time and the cost of fresh ingredients.  
  • Don't compromise on quality to save money. Be careful about waste and make effective use of each ingredient. You can process fruit waste to produce sweets, fruit leathers and infusions. Throw nothing away.   

4. Choose Sturdy Packaging 

  • Research to find the right packaging for your cocktails and buy in bulk to keep costs down.  
  • Packaging plays a crucial role in maintaining the aspect and quality of the products inside. 
  • Consider choosing bottles big enough to fit two servings, keeping packaging costs down and increasing margins.   
  • Sustainable packaging can come at a higher cost; however, it is better for the planet, reflects positively on your brand and can also set you apart from your competitors. 
  • Test your packaging to make sure it can safely hold your product and reach its destination as per your standards and your customer’s expectations. 

Watch Now

5. Know the Law 

  • Licenses to serve alcohol vary from country to country. Be aware of what permissions you need to allow alcohol to be taken off the premises legally.  
  • Seek professional advice and get an expert to review all your terms and conditions to ensure compliance.  

6. Take Advantage of Technology 

  • There are many creative, low-cost ways to open an online store, including Facebook and Instagram shops or even a WhatsApp ordering system. 
  • Use your existing channels, including your website, email and social media, to help customers know you offer additional services like takeaway or delivery.  

7. Research Delivery Options 

  • Third-party options usually take a sizeable commission, so it's worth exploring the costs for an in-house service or finding local couriers to negotiate a rate with.  
  • For sales further afield, use tracking when posting your deliveries in case the product is compromised during transit and needs replacing.  
  • Provide delivery updates to your customer to help strengthen confidence and the customer experience.

8. Diversify your Portfolio  

  • Customers are often looking for more than just a cocktail. Add extras to your shop, like glassware, merchandise, gift vouchers, mixers and snacks 
  • Build food and drink packages for a special night in, celebration, or a care package for a friend who needs cheering up.  
  • Collaborate with like-minded brands who can benefit from partnering and adding more variety to your online shop. 

9. Train Everyone 

Spend time training staff to work across multiple touchpoints so everyone can adapt and respond to the different needs of your venue and save money on outsourcing.  

Build confidence in your team by training everyone on the exact method of making each serve and have set recipes to help minimize waste [ID 1841] and protect margins.  

Use resources in the Diageo Bar Academy to help with training.

Five Key Takeaways

  1. Think carefully through the challenges before you start a takeaway and delivery service. 
  2. Keep things simple when designing the menu and avoid perishable ingredients. 
  3. Streamline hours across all aspects of your delivery or collection business to keep it profitable. 
  4. Know the law in your country and ensure you have the correct permits to operate a takeaway and delivery business. 
  5. Diversify your takeaway and delivery offering beyond cocktails to drive sales, including merchandise, gift vouchers and food.

There are important things to consider when adding a drinks delivery or takeaway offering to your venue. However, a simple menu and a cost-efficient approach to production, packing, and delivery is an opportunity to diversify your offering, increase revenue and reach and connect with more customers.

Discover more ideas, production methods and training support when you sign up to the Diageo Bar Academy.