June 07, 2023

Profits on Tap: More Than Half of Millennials and Gen Z Adults More Likely to Takeout from Restaurants Who Serve To-Go Alcohol

Washington D.C. – The to-go mugs, bottles and margarita glasses are here to stay, pushing restaurant owners to look beyond the bar for ways to elevate the customer experience. Long past a survival tactic, 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.

Alcohol to-go a pandemic lifeline for many graphicIn 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 all according to a new report from the National Restaurant Association which breaks down the latest data on alcohol trends and preferences among restaurant owners and consumers.

Gen Z most likely to order to-go alcohol graphic

“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.

Alcohol Report StatsThe 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, Vice President of State Affairs and Grassroots Advocacy, National Restaurant Association.

*All adults surveyed for the report were 21+ years old.

About the National Restaurant Association

Founded in 1919, the National Restaurant Association is the leading business association for the restaurant industry, which comprises more than 1 million restaurant and foodservice outlets and a workforce of 15.5 million employees. Together with 52 State Associations, we are a network of professional organizations dedicated to serving every restaurant through advocacy, education, and food safety. We sponsor the industry's largest trade show (National Restaurant Association Show); leading food safety training and certification program (ServSafe); unique career-building high school program (the NRAEF's ProStart). For more information, visit Restaurant.org and find @WeRRestaurants on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.