TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — It's a part of the pandemic that could stick around as restaurants look to rebound. Drinks-to-go was introduced last March to help businesses keep money coming in when inside dining was not an option.
Once Governor Ron DeSantis signs off on the legislation, restaurants with liquor licenses can sell sealed wine, beer, or liquor-based cocktails to-go. It's something business owners across the city are hopeful for as they look at every option to help their restaurants survive.
"It was a big help from the beginning," said El Jalisco Mexican Restaurant Owner Victor Carranza. He said the ability to sell margaritas as takeout raised sales up to thirty percent during the pandemic.
With their meals, people would get gallons of margaritas and just margaritas period," said Carranza.
Florida Restaurant and Lodging Senior Vice President Geoff Leubkemann said he supports the move, seeing how businesses have adapted to it to keep their businesses open.
It was a difference-maker. Many of our operations went down to existing on skeleton crews. This was one channel that was absolutely essential to survival," said Leubkemann.
Under the new law, drinks cannot be any larger than 32 ounces and they will need to be sealed with tamper strips. Orders must also include the sale of food.
"I think to go is here to stay and it should be here for a really long time," said Jeri's Midtown Cafe Owner Jeri Madden.
Madden said their takeout drinks boosted sales as much as twenty percent.
"I had to supplement everything with online ordering and delivery when we did shut down and it's only supplemented my sales since then," said Madden. "It's really increased my sales overall."
It's an increase businesses across the city are thankful for as they look at every option to help their restaurants survive.
With the governor's signature, permanent drinks to go would go into effect July 1.