Moral busybody that he is, New York City Mayor, Michael Bloomberg, has taken it upon himself now to restrict the sales of sugary soft drinks. The restriction will mean “no more than 16 ounces a cup in city restaurants, movie theaters, stadiums and arenas….” There will not however be a ban on soft drink sales in gas stations or grocery stores, so at least this madness is not universal applied.
In the interest of helping New York City restaurants better serve their patrons, I am listing some creative ways the industry might find around this ridiculous ban. According to the New York Times, restaurants will be allowed to sell multiple drinks and offer free refills, so those are already covered. The free refills would cover dine-in patrons, but the challenge is to serve drive-thru or to-go customers who wont have access to refills.
• Restaurants could offer discounts on multiple drinks to-go, such that two 16oz. drinks would be priced equal to one 32oz. drink.
• Restaurants could allow customers to bring reusable cups that were greater than 16oz. and fill drinks that way. Presumably this would avoid the restriction on the business handing out the cup. Pricing would be be determined by the size of any clearly marked cup.
• Privately owned restaurants could require a membership – which would be free and incredibly easy to get – in order to skirt the requirements. This may not work in New York, but I understand some businesses have used this method to avoid anti-smoking ordinances in certain cities.
These are just a few ideas off the top of my head. The market has a remarkable ability to overcome barriers put in place by the state, so there’s no doubt some enterprising businesses will come up with even better ways to offer products sought by willing consumers. Please leave any other suggestions you can think of in the comments.