Vibe Conference Discusses How to Improve the RFP Process

After last year's wildly popular seminar around a vital part of the business—the Request for Proposals (RFP) Process—speakers returned to the 2024 Vibe Conference ready to dive even deeper into the process.

This year's panel included:

  • Todd M. Schuessler, Director, On-Premises National Accounts, Campari Group
  • Gary Gruver, Director, Beverage, Global, US and Canada, Marriott International
  • Indre Jasaityte, Director, Beverage, BJ’s Restaurants, Inc.
  • Chander Bhola, Global Vice President, On-Premise Key Accounts Sales, Sazerac Company

This year, the session, "The RFP Process 2.0 – Building A Better RFP," focused on determining how buyers can maximize the results of the RFPs they craft. But it takes two—both suppliers and buyers to improve the RFP process—so the session covered things both sides can improve on as well.

Here are some of the takeaways from the session.


Above all, operators need to provide more detailed RFPs, specifically outlining their needs and asks. 

It also helps if the RFPs are listed on multiple channels and sent out on a consistent schedule so suppliers have a better idea of when to expect them.

Many operators say they welcome ideas from suppliers year-round and not just during the RFP process. Operators value ideas for new recipes, new promotions, etc.

Many operators also find live presentations more beneficial than those done virtually.


First and foremost, suppliers need to pay special attention to what a buyer asks in the RFP and target their pitch according to those needs.

Based on those asks, suppliers should also be prepared with more robust data to support their pitches and the needs of the buyer. Operators are saavy and want to go beyond generic information and stats.

Suppliers also have asks of operators during the RFP process:

  • Operators should notify everyone who submitted a pitch of where they landed. Constructive feedback is also important.
  • Operators should provide estimated sales by unit.
  • Operators should give an estimate of the timing to launch.

Ideal RFP Doc

So what does an ideal RFP look like? The speakers laid out some key components to include:

Core Information

  • A defined customer beverage strategy
  • Specific asks from buyers
  • A defined competitive set
  • A defined existing customer profile/target consumer profile

Support Information

  • Clear timeline
  • Suggested proposal format
  • Current menu
  • Current APL list (include glassware)
  • Targeted costs (pour, BTG, draft)
  • Presentation attendees
  • How much time/timeline?
  • Tasting: cocktails, new products
  • Samples needed?


Vibe Conference 2025 will take place March 3-5, 2025 at Town & Country Resort in San Diego, California.

Contact us now to secure your program for the 2025 Vibe Conference:

Donna Bruns, Sales & Sponsorships, (for companies A-L), Email: [email protected] Phone: 936-522-6932

Fadi Alsayegh, Sales & Sponsorships, (for companies M-Z), Email: [email protected] Phone: 440-454-0239

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