I was just reading this on Facebook from an industry magazine and was disappointed in how basic the ideas were. Check it out here: Sommelier Business Article.
Importance of a Diverse Beverage Inventory
There is much more than price-point management and basic food pairing needed for a Somm to successfully manage a dining restaurant’s inventory. Here are a few other ideas to consider:
- There should be a low, medium and premium price option for each major category. Train staff to upsell wines.
- Inventory a few recognizable labels in each major category, but the majority of the wine should not be found at local stores – train staff to upsell these wines.
- Know the local alcoholic beverage procurement laws. If possible, work with distributors, brokers/importers and winery direct to build a diverse selection at the right price-points.
If the menu is even minimally diverse, there is so much more than a wine’s geographic origin to consider:
- Weight – lighter wines can be more versatile with food.
- Fruity wines should be included as an aperitif and to pair with sweeter dishes.
- Complex/Savory wines for specific flavor pairings.
- Tannic wines to pair with red meats and red sauces.
- Acidic wines to pair with dishes having cream sauces.
Can the chef build a dessert menu to pair with Ports and Sauternes?
- Train staff to sell digestifs.
Experiment with variable margin strategies. Perhaps:
- Reduce margin on bottles over $75 USD to improve cash-flow.
- Lower prices on a few accessible mid-price labels to help your staff upsell.
A diverse cellar is useless, if the staff is not trained with a sales strategy. Remember gross profit is a mix of pricing AND total beverage revenue. Have a goal – if beverage (beer, wine, cocktails) is not contributing to at least a third of a restaurant’s revenue and half the profits, the business is not likely to succeed.
Whether you are a wine steward, sommelier, or the restaurant manager/owner… managing beverage is complex. Without training of staff and an overall beverage strategy, a successful and profitable restaurant will be difficult to achieve.