Quaker Steak & Lube takes beverages seriously. It’s why the brand’s revamped drink menu is so much fun.
The Lube, known for its unique motor-themed décor and award winning wings, is making waves with a recently unveiled beverage menu brimming with new makes and models of refreshing, handcrafted cocktails, crafted beers, and creative twists on alcoholic and nonalcoholic favorites.
Cocktails, pictured in a new storybook-style menu, are headlined by the brand’s famed Lube-A-Ritas – margaritas served frozen or on the rocks—and new tiki-style drinks. Festive island fare includes the chilled strawberry sweetness of the Daytona Daiquiri, a Caribbean Cooler, hand-shaken with Cruzan Rum, pineapple, and orange flavored Blue Curacao; and Shark Punch, featuring three types of rum, hand-shaken with banana liqueur, orange, and pineapple juices. Thirsty yet? The libation lineup also features approachable whiskey cocktails with fruit purees and juices, more nationally recognized draft lagers, craft beers, and tap handles for local favorites; and the widely popular Lube-N-Ade, fresh squeezed lemonade with and without alcohol.
“We analyzed what our guests liked with the existing beverage program and built the new menu around that,” shared Shannon Salupo, Quaker Steak & Lube’s corporate beverage manager. “There’s something for every taste preference.”
Salupo, a self-professed junkie of the science behind what people like to sip, has nearly two decades of experience in beverage vendor relations, containment, training, and beverage marketing. Since joining Ohio-based Quaker Steak & Lube a year ago, she has been busy simplifying and refining the quality and execution of the chain’s beverage program, starting with paring down the restaurant’s extensive drink offerings by more than half.
“What I saw was an incredible brand, loyal customers, and a loyal team member base,” she says. “When I came in, I wanted to increase the quality of drinks, manage costs, look at margins, and ensure that we are meeting the needs of the guests.”
Salupo has done all that and more starting with the creation of a storybook style menu. The menu, printed with two different front covers for variation, is loaded with photography, descriptions, and prices so the drinks quickly sell themselves—before a guest even orders.
“We need our drink menu to work really hard for us,” says Salupo. “We also wanted to drive guests to the items that return a higher margin, so those pictures do that for us. Overall, we expect it is going to drive increases in margin, overall sales, and deliver that high execution with new recipes.”
The beverage menu, rolled out with The Lube’s new limited-time seasonal dining offerings, stays true to the brand’s distinctive DNA to serve up drinks in a unique way. Guests can enjoy more beverages with whimsical garnishes, made popular by the signature Duck Duck Goose vodka martini (with the often touted tagline “Drink the cocktail, keep the duck”), and drinks served in Lube-branded glassware.
With more than 50 locations in 14 states, Salupo knows the success of any beverage program comes down to a team effort throughout the franchise system. Along with numerous incentives and contests designed to engage and reward employees in beverage operations, she hit the road to introduce the new menu and provide hands-on training to franchisees across the country.
“When I’m creating a drink or a piece to the beverage program, I know how important it is that people can, and want to, execute it,” says Salupo, who has also worked the front lines as a dishwasher, server, bartender, and manager. “I think we are going to see a lot of success with the launch because of taking that time to do those trainings, and to give them the information behind the why we are doing those things.”
For Quaker Steak & Lube, founded over 40 years ago in a renovated Pennsylvania filling station, bottoms up is big business.
“The power in the people right now to do the marketing for you is so strong,” says Salupo. “They want to take pictures of their drinks and food and put it out there to show their friends. You have to be pretty creative. You want something that people are going to tell their friends about – and not just tell them, but show them. It can bring people through the door if you do things right.”
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