The Happiest Hour: Our Guide To Restaurant Alcohol Delivery
With our new social distancing paradigm comes a slew of fresh problems. For many businesses, including our friends and family in the restaurant industry, operations have ground to a halt. Restaurant closures and economic upheaval has inspired novel pivots for owners and operators fighting to stay viable through the crisis, including exclusively off-premise orders, selling groceries, and, more recently, through alcohol delivery. While it will vary from state-to-state in the U.S., our guide to restaurant alcohol delivery can help you navigate new waters.
Under the Influence of Alcohol Through Time
Alcohol has a long and storied history. Do you know how the workers who built the Great Pyramids were paid? Alcohol. Do you know what they served on the Mayflower? Pilgrims drank beer—they understood to be a safer alternative to water, which could become contaminated. We all understand the utility of alcohol, from the sanitary issues to social currency. And now that we’re all trapped inside, many U.S. States have legalized restaurant alcohol delivery, with caveats for each.
Keep It Clean
At this point, we all know to clean, clean, clean. Clean everything. Clean your surfaces in your restaurant. Use your lag time now to deep clean (it is spring after all). And if you’re delivering items, make sure to disinfect them before sending them out the door, at least to the best of your abilities. Keep in mind that at least so far, it seems that COVID-19 isn’t usually spread from surface-to-human contact, although the science is still out there. Clean everything and make sure that your hand-off is hands-free.
Seal The Deal
It stands to reason that you already need to ensure that you seal everything before delivery. But what exactly does that mean? For the most part, when something is sealed, it’s in a spill-proof container that requires some modicum of force to open it. You typically see that through a bottle top or in an aluminum can with a pop-top. Beyond that, in many states, a container is considered “sealed” if it’s capped off and tapped up. The most common place you’ll see is in a growler, which is 64 oz. Jug typically used for beer. Keep in mind that whether you use a growler or a crowler system, you can likely put whatever type of drink you want inside, including cocktails.
The Total Package
The laws will vary around the country, so you should double-check your local law to see if alcohol sales need to include a portion of food sales. In some states, that’s not the case right now, and it won’t likely impact you at the end of the day. Still, while we’re struggling to keep the lights on, make sure you’re doing the right thing so that your restaurant doesn’t get dinged later.
If food sales are a requirement, put together packaged deals. Consider happy hour specials that include a drink and a dinner. Remember: this applies to every type of restaurant business that sells alcohol. You don’t have to be a gastropub or bar to qualify. So if you’re fine dining, you could offer sealed wine with your meals, or if you want, just the wine.
Because the rules are a little different depending on your state, it’s worth knowing if you’re allowed to transport alcoholic beverages across state lines. Check with your local Alcoholic Beverage Commission (ABC) to determine the law regarding restaurant alcohol delivery in your state. Ultimately, it’s probably a good idea to limit your service territory, unless it’s critical to the business. Irrespective of in or out-of-state sales, try to keep all of your delivery options contactless. These measures help mitigate the spread of the virus.
There is a lot to think about here, but ultimately many states consider alcohol an essential business at the moment, and that’s a market into which you can likely tap. Mental health care is critical under quarantine, and moderation can help take the edge off of the anxieties of the day. Again, make sure to check with your local ABC and take the necessary precautions to stay safe. In doing so, you can optimize restaurant alcohol delivery as a revenue stream to stay afloat in troubled waters.
Want the scoop on everything related to COVID-19 and the restaurant industry? We’ve got you covered. Subscribe to our award-winning blog to get weekly updates on the most buzzworthy restaurant industry topics.
About the Author
Syd is a content marketing specialist, which are fancy words for writing pretty to tell a good story. He likes writing things about food, drinks, and music. He’s a musician himself, a father of two, and loves his wife a whole lot. He’s at home like the rest of the world right now but finding time to play with the kids and create art.