Do you serve brunch at your establishment? If you don’t, you’re missing out on a major revenue-generating opportunity, according to Sam Marvin, owner of Echo & Rig Butcher and Steakhouse.
“When people go out to brunch, they don’t mind spending—it’s a luxury choice,” according to Marvin. Speaking at the 2016 Nightclub & Bar Convention and Trade Show in Las Vegas in March, he shared some tips for making brunch a revenue generator.
Marvin, founder of Bottega Louie in Los Angeles, opened Echo & Rig near the Las Vegas strip in Summerlin, NV, in 2013. The steakhouse, which operates a full butcher shop as well, is open for lunch and dinner seven days a week and for brunch Saturdays and Sundays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
He noted that the guest check averages at Echo & Rig are $18 for lunch, $52 for dinner and $29 for brunch—so brunch is right in between. But with some 300 brunches served a day, the brunch shift is as lucrative as Friday and Saturday night dinners.
Cocktails are a big part of the brunch experience, Marvin said. Many people “are really just looking for an excuse to drink on weekend days, and at brunch it’s more acceptable.”
Appearance and presentation are more important with brunch cocktails, he said. “People drink with their eyes more at brunch, perhaps because it’s daylight,” so operators should pay attention to cocktail colors, glassware and garnishes.
But you also want to keep it simple: The brunch cocktails at Echo & Rig have no more than five ingredients. The restaurant’s director of beverage Robert Wank shared a unique brunch cocktail recipe that called for 1 oz. each of Ancho Reyes chile liqueur and Drambuie; ¼ oz. pimento dram; and 1 ½ oz. of fresh tea, topped with club soda.
Echo & Rig also offers bottomless Mimosas (priced at $16) and Bloody Marys ($20), and “the margins on those are good,” Marvin said. These drinks are also easy on the servers, be added, especially since the house-made Bloody Marys are batched. Wank noted that the restaurant sells more bottles at brunch than it does at dinner.
Brunch is the best opportunity to create loyal clientele, as brunch guests tend to become regulars. “We take every opportunity we can to do brunch,” Marvin said. “If it’s a long weekend, we’ll offer brunch on the holiday Monday.”
If you have a bar at your restaurant, it’s a natural to do brunch, Marvin said. You can offer just nine items, but make sure you do them well, he stressed. What seems to work is a balance of healthy and decadent menu offerings.
In general, Marvin noted, there are so many opportunities for bars to do more with food. “Brunch is a no-brainer.”