Beverages are BIG everywhere! It used to be that your drink choices were soda and tea but with more and more people weaning off of sugar-filled, carbonated sodas, the beverage biz is exploding! In our weekly fast casual restaurant reviews #Friday Feed, we have the opportunity to see what’s trending. Flavored teas aren’t necessarily new but they’re definitely more common, fruity teas & lemonades (see watermelon ice tea from Twisted Root), juices, cold brew coffee, sparkling waters, and small batch craft sodas are all becoming big players.
Self-serve tap systems are definitely hot and because they’re pretty, they cross-function as experiential store design elements (see pics of Piada and Bellagreen). Clear bubblers are also becoming trendy again. There’s something about seeing the pretty colors all lined up that makes these beverages look extra refreshing (see pics from Modern Market, Subway and Unleavened).
We’re also seeing more concepts using reach in coolers to offer an even wider selection of bottled beverages, canned beers, juices, energy drinks, etc. (see Velvet Taco and Tacodeli). With the many delivery service providers (Uber Eats, Door Dash, Favor, GrubHub) delivering to homes and offices, bottled or canned drinks are preferred over fountain drinks in cups with ice, lids, straws, etc.
Now let’s talk about 7-Eleven and that Beer on Tap. I LOVED 7-Eleven when I was a kid. While the last 2-3 decades have not been good for this once amazing brand, they are working on a turnaround. They just opened a brand new 7-Eleven at Sylvan & I-30 near Oak Cliff. The signs say “A store like no other”. They are calling it the Sylvan | Thirty “lab” store where it will test new concepts, platforms and products. The store also includes a Laredo Taco brand inside. This store has a wine “room”, a build your own toppings bar for frozen treats, BEER ON TAP, grind & brew coffee machines, bulk snacks and candy. A bonus for a store design nerd like myself, they have LED strip lighting under every. single. shelf. to highlight the beautiful bags of candy and snacks.
Following Amazon Go, The “lab” store is also testing “Scan & Pay” – you grab the products you want, scan them with your phone’s camera and pay with CC, DC Apple or Google Pay. Now you’re free to skip the line, you just scan your QR code at the “confirmation station” (a little white acrylic box on the counter by the front door) and get on with your day. I’m going to try it this weekend for sure. Cool stuff 7-Eleven, I’m ready for your come-back!
Every Friday, Studio B Dallas visits a local fast casual concept for lunch to critique the brand (and eat lunch). Look for our restaurant branding reviews each Friday! MJ & Danny