Pump Up Patio Visits with Specialty Drink and Food Pairings

Pump Up Patio Visits with Specialty Drink and Food Pairings

Summer campaigns highlighting food and drink pairings can be a powerful strategy for enticing visitors; doubly so if your restaurant has a patio. Consider this: 43% of diners between the ages of 25 and 34 are actually willing to spend more on food and beverages when dining outdoors. Coupled with consumers’ increased sharing behaviours – a topic we covered in our previous blog post – offering “left side of the menu” and patio-driven beverage pairings will not only set your business apart, it will also supercharge your profits this summer.

Technomic found that, “More than a quarter of Canadian consumers said they would be more likely to visit a limited-service restaurant that offered adult beverages.” More specifically, Canadians crave beer when they visit LSRs. As more limited service restaurants (LSRs) offer adult beverages as a means of differentiating themselves from their competitors, patio season is a perfect time to explore whether this strategy makes good business sense for your restaurant. 

Craft beer/microbrews are the number one hot trend, according to a recent survey of 500 Canadian chefs. Consider offering one local variety, or a small selection, and running a promotion whereby a pitcher or pint is discounted when purchased alongside one or two starters, small plates or sides. Avocado Toasts fit the bill, as Top 500 LSR appetizer and small plates see Hispanic ingredients like guacamole and chorizo trending upwards on menus. The classic pairing of burger and ice cold beer is tough to beat, but serving them as sliders allows for sharing, and putting a unique twist on them delivers on diners’ desire to explore new flavours via smaller formats.

Full service restaurants (FSRs) typically enjoy more robust bar offerings, enabling greater creativity and flexibility in patio-perfect food and beverage pairings. Micro-distilled/artisan liquors takes the number six spot as a hot up-and-coming trend, according to 500 Canadian chefs surveyed. FSRs can position themselves ahead of the pack by pre-emptively capitalizing on this trend with a distinct beverage program featuring elevated cocktails starring speciality liquors. Champagne, Prosecco and “hard” soft drinks for adults are also among the trendiest beverages, according to Technomic. Offering miniature grilled cheese sandwiches stuffed with macaroni and cheese as an indulgent snack pairing aligns with macaroni’s rise as the fastest-growing side at Top 500 FSRs. On the lighter, more seasonal and local side, our Peachy-Keen bruschetta, featuring local peaches grilled to perfection, is a winning combination with these more elevated adult beverages.

Who doesn’t love enjoying great food, drinks and company on a patio? It is a summer must. Patio-perfect pairings that leverage hot and up-and-coming beverage trends are a highly effective way to re-imagine back-of-house ingredients you likely already have on hand and positon your location as a hot-spot for groups this summer.


  • Starters, Small Plates & Sides Consumer Trend Report, 2015, Technomic Inc.