To-Go Alcohol 21% of Restaurant Sales; Gen Z, Millennials Favor Eateries Offering To-Go Alcohol

Among restaurant operators that offer alcoholic beverages with takeout or delivery orders, roughly 9 in 10 offer it with takeout orders, cementing a line-item that already accounts for an average of 21% of sales among full-service restaurants.

In fact, casual dining leads the way in off-premises options, with nearly all restaurants that serve alcohol including it as a takeout offering (90%) and over a quarter (26%) with their third-party delivery offerings. When it comes to who wants to-go alcohol, more than half of millennials (62%) and Gen Z adults (52%) report they would be more likely pick a restaurant for takeout if they could include alcohol beverages.

That's according to a just-released report from the National Restaurant Association.

"The innovation we are witnessing right now in beverage programs of all kinds is exactly why restaurants are some of the most resilient and impactful businesses in this country. These incredible operators have turned a survival tactic into a major growth catalyst for their businesses. Consumers are taking note and if we can continue to stay in front of their preferences, there is no limit to how far beverage trends can move the needle for the restaurant industry," said Michelle Korsmo, President & Chief Executive Officer of the National Restaurant Association.

Cocktail for Success

Despite more than half (54%) of delivery customers stating that the availability of alcohol beverages would make them more likely to choose a restaurant, and the growing number of states extending or making permanent the to-go options for restaurants, only one-quarter of adults who opted for takeout or delivery from a restaurant during the last six months included an alcohol beverage in the order. That leaves significant growth opportunities for restaurants, particularly in how they market, package, and differentiate their offerings, according to the report, which provides several examples and interviews from culinary innovators in several states leading the way on alcohol sales.

The report also reaffirms the Association's prediction that local experiences would be this year's hottest trend. Despite the emphasis on to-go options, consumers also expect local restaurants to offer experiential events. For example, both wine (81%) and beer (79%) drinkers say they would participate in tasting events at restaurants.

Finally, the report emphasizes the trust between consumers and restaurants, with most (82%) of adults that drink wine, beer and liquor saying they trust the staff at local restaurants to make good drink recommendations.

"The new alcohol to-go laws modernized state alcohol policy, and consumers can now enjoy more of the restaurant hospitality experience in the comfort of their own homes. As this report demonstrates, operators who innovatively connect the experiential aspects of their alcohol programs with a clear off-premises strategy are seeing enormous success with customers," said Mike Whatley, VP-State Affairs and Grassroots Advocacy, National Restaurant Association.