IRVINE Calif. Looking to boost bar sales, the Mimi’s Cafe chain on Wednesday launched a new “Beginnings and Endings” beverage menu featuring a wider selection of mixed drinks, wine and beer.
Mimi’s has long offered a range of alcohol, but the expanded beverage menu is being promoted with a new interactive “Meet Me at Mimi’s” web tool, allowing guests to customize email invitations to meet for drinks. The first 1,000 users of the tool at www.MimisCafe.com/MeetMe  will receive a special coupon.
Officials said a beverage consultant was brought in to revamp the bar offerings for the 144-unit casual-dining chain, which is based in Irvine, Calif., but is owned by Bob Evans Farms Inc., based in Columbus, Ohio.
The result was a new lineup of updated wine varietals, and signature cocktails, such as Black Cherry Rum Zero, which includes Cruzan Black Cherry rum and Sprite Zero; a Pomarita, a margarita made with Cuervo Gold tequila, BOLS triple sec and sweet-and-sour mix; or a Mimi’s Almond Joy, featuring Malibu Coconut Rum, Amaretto di Saronno, Kahlua, chocolate syrup and coffee, topped with whipped cream.
Coffee cocktails, smoothies and a full espresso bar are also new to the beverage line up.
“We understand the importance beverages play with a meal and that many guests like to meet at Mimi’s for drinks before a meal,” said Mimi Somerman, the company’s senior vice president of marketing. “We worked closely with a beverage expert to choose wine varietals and create innovative signature drinks our guests would appreciate and enjoy, and we’re excited about our selection.”
Same-store sales at Mimi’s dipped 7.1 percent in the fourth quarter ended April 24, despite an average menu price increase of 1.5 percent. Officials blamed the difficult consumer environment, particularly in Mimi’s core market of Southern California.