Carry-out cocktails promise to be a game-changer for many struggling restaurants
Governor DeWine’s two drink allowance will maximize ticket totals for take-out orders.
CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - The option to sell cocktails with carry-out and delivery food orders will likely make a huge difference to many restaurants working hard to stay open amid social distancing.
"It definitely is a game changer,” said Eric Scott, bartender at Thyme X Table in Bay Village.
They’ve been offering family take-and-bake meals, and selling about 20-25 of those daily for $50.
Adding up to eight pre-made cocktails to that order could provide $2,000 more a night, potentially.
“With something that’s put together with a staff of three or four, that’s significant,” he said.
When Gov. Mike DeWine made the announcement Tuesday, allowing for the carry-out cocktail option, Scott says they got calls right away.
“We have this drink, Serious Problems, which is really well-known. We probably got ten orders for them right away, and that’s eight drinks a piece. I had to make them on the fly," he said.
Sol, in downtown Willoughby, was ahead of the game and already prepared to safely and legally prepare and sell carry-out cocktails.
“People love our margaritas and they can’t come in the restaurant and enjoy them. We want to be able to let them enjoy that at home,” said owner David Bartulovic.
They sold 18 margaritas to-go last night, and hope to sell more than 300 by the end of the week.
“I’m able to take care of the staff that’s here, which means more to me than taking care of myself. These people they have families just like I do. We want to stay strong and survive,” he said.
They’re creating and cutting videos now on how to make a Sol margarita at home with directions.
Many establishments were caught off-guard by the governor’s announcement, and they don’t yet have the supplies to safely and legally deliver on the cocktail orders, so vendors like The Dean Supply Company are working to get them what they need.
“We have had an immediate demand for products that would work for this type of application,” said Michael DeSatnik, VP of operations for The Dean Supply Company.
They’re selling carry-out cocktail starter kits with items like disposable cups with snap-on lids to prevent liquids from spilling, and 7- to 16-ounce plastic cups with lids, which have been in high demand.
“Within the past 24 hours, it seems that 4 out of every 10 customers in our store have been buying these items, and almost all the phone calls from restaurants with the proper licenses have asked for guidance for this new opportunity,” said DeSatnik.
He says they have stock on hand for these items and have more due in next week.
But not everyone is as enthusiastic about the potential of this opportunity.
"We’re happy to be able to offer this option to our customers but we should have had it from the start. Ohio reacted slow and is now, unfortunately, way behind states like New York. This has put local liquor-based businesses and those that majorly depend on alcohol sales in a deep hole,” said Brandon Chrostowski, of Edwins Restaurant in Shaker Square.
He says liquor will only make up roughly 10 percent of sales for them because people won’t be consuming as much to-go as they would when they dine in.
“When someone engages with Edwins, they want to escape with food. And our goal has always been to serve food that feeds the soul. Cocktails add a certain element to this overall experience and at the end of the day, it gives us another tool to drive forward,” he said.
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