Expert Panel Defines Innovation and Creativity To Increase Wines By The Glass Revenue
According to a recent survey by Napa Technology, more than 88 percent of industry experts acknowledge that consumers are demanding more interesting wine by the glass, and are willing to spend more.
So how can the hospitality industry meet consumer expectations and harness the maximum revenue from each bottle?
A panel of industry experts, sommeliers and users of the WineStation technology cite Innovation, marketing, education and product insight as the keys to meeting today’s consumer demand, while also achieving greater profitability.
According to industry consultant, Marian Jansen op de Haar, founder of Vines 57, “a glass of wine is only as good as its preservation system.”
Operators are well aware that wine is at its peak when served just opened. But how do you maintain that freshness for your guests after that very first glass? Jansen op de Haar suggests you should make sure a few things happen: protect the wine from oxidation either by sparging with an inert gas or by flash-vacuum. Restaurants that are serious about wine will have a preservation system, assuring the wine tastes as intended, while achieving profitability otherwise lost on spoilage.
WineStation user Bryan Gavini, Owner Operator of Pangaea Wine Bar and Bistro in Putnam, CT and user of the WineStation, offers three ideas for improving wines by the glass profitability that he has successfully implemented in his restaurant:
Feature Seasonal Wine Flights
The use of seasonal wine flights keeps the customers intrigued and exploring new wine regions and varietals. Pangaea Wine Bar and Bistro creates a new wine flight bi-monthly, featured on their menu and paired with a variety of cheeses and meats.
Create Wine of the Day Specials
Wines by the glass are featured daily to showcase unique/small boutique or small-volume producers and to provide guests with a breadth of experience. This such innovation was recently recognized by Wine Spectator Magazine’s Award of Excellence.
Pangaea Wine Bar’s two-hour class is offered to guests for a cost of $35 per person including paired menu items. Each class focuses on educating the consumer on a wide variety of wine varietals and selection knowledge.
David Grice the General Manager/Wine Director of Bella Mia Restaurant, a WineStation system user in San Jose, CA offers the following tips for venues using intelligent wine preservation and distribution systems:
Complete and enticing descriptions for each featured wine will significantly increase a sale. Grice utilizes the WineStation LCD screens to share flavor profile as well as regional information above each wine selection. The more guests know about a wine, the more likely they are to feel comfortable to make the purchase.
Element of Surprise
Placing less-common wines in the WineStation helps educate guests and create interest by showcasing small producers and unique varietals.
Utilizing the 60 day preservation capabilities of the WineStation, Bella Mia has successfully been able to increase sales of the lesser-known or higher-priced bottles of wine, by offering samples. Sampling is a great way to remove the obstacle to purchase. Additionally, guest can purchase an AccuServe® Smartcard, allowing for self-exploration of 8 wines by-the-glass, nightly. Ultimately, this sampling leads to increased purchases and a greater overall experience. From a host of wine industry experts across the country, we’ve highlighted some of our favorite ways to increase your wines by the glass program.
1. Eliminate Waste
By “eliminate,” we don’t mean reduce. There is no greater detriment to successful wines by the glass program than waste. It’s the very hurdle that keeps most operators from successfully engaging in a profitable wine by the glass effort. Preservation systems have improved dramatically over the past 5 years, with the leading technology offering precision portion control, temperature control and staff reporting.
2. Proper Stemware
Putting the right wine in the correct glass signals to your consumer that your restaurant is serious about its wines by the glass program. Consumers know the difference
between a big bowl glass designed for a Burgundy/Pinot Noir and more elongated Sauvignon Blanc glass. The correct wine glass can also optimize the intensity of aromas, emphasize specific flavors like fruitiness, can keep Champagne and sparkling wines from going flat, and much more.
3. Know The Fill Line
Although this may seem counterintuitive, only fill the glass to the widest spot in the glass, no higher. However, you can throw this rule out the window if you are pouring Champagne. The Champagne glass should be filled to approximately 2 inches below the rim. Old rules of thumb are good to know when you are lacking the precision that only an intelligent wine dispensing system can provide. Obviously, zero waste is best for profitability but reducing waste is the next best alternative.
4. Portion Control
The average pour in US restaurants is between 4 and 5 oz, which equates to approximately 5 to 6 glasses per bottle. To maximize every pour, an automated system, such as the WineStation, will assure your profits are measured with precision. Educating staff about the proper sized pour and monitoring the ounces in each glass can improve your wines by the glass profits significantly. 4 oz vs. 6 oz. is significant over the course of a year, and the difference between making a healthy profit on your wine by the glass program and not.
Next to product waste, there is no greater impediment on a restaurant’s ability to achieve gains than those losses that move across the bar for free. New technological developments, such as the WineStation’s AccuServe® Smartcard technology, monitor the pour of each wine glass and track staff service as well — putting the control and revenues back in the hands of the operator.
5. Monitor Temperatures
Too warm, too cool? Wine served at the improper temperature can instantly ruin the dining experience, and ultimately cost the operator more in terms of a lost guest or a free dinner. Consumers are increasingly leery of the familiar image of corked wine bottles lining the edge of the bar, and demand wines served at the proper temperature; Reds should be served slightly chilled within a range of 57-62 degrees, and most Whites between 48-52 degrees. It is imperative for restaurants to engage in proper preservation and handling of product at all times
6. Celebrate the Single and Off-Hours Diner
Maximize the fringe. Wines by the glass offerings provide an innovative, cost effective way to service the early and late-night diners when paired with small plates and appetizer offerings. Both are cost-effective and appealing to the consumer’s time- crunched day, while also appealing to the single diner.
7. Visual Showcase
The menu is a wonderful vehicle to display wine selections, but it shouldn’t be the only means for guests to become intrigued with your wine offerings. A beautiful, highly visible display of the product should be considered. Wine preservation and dispensing systems provide provocative, attention-grabbing customer awareness and confirm to the guest that their wine selections will be served pristinely, and overall increase interest and sales.
8. Emphasize Staff Education
Some of the most successful wine by the glass programs in the country, like the 100 wines by the glass program at Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar, confirms that staff education is potentially the single most important component of any successful wines by the glass program. Just about every sommelier we spoke to referenced education of both the service staff and the guest as the most effective way to increase profitability of a restaurant, wine bar or other venue that serves wines by the glass.
9. Menu Within A Menu
Make your wine selections a significant part of the menu offerings by featuring unique wine prix-fixe or wine flights, which can bring guests back for seasonal offerings and/or unique and new wine offerings.
10. Wine Pairing Suggestions
Wine pairing suggestions with each menu item helps your guest take the guesswork out of choosing the correct wine with their meal, and ultimately a more engaging experience. Wine pairing suggestions also allow you to feature unique varietals while showcasing your menu.