Friday, October 9, 2015

Quick Tips for Restaurants and staff on Training and Selling Wine to your eager Guests!

Because our industry attracts a diverse workforce, we cannot expect a universal level of wine knowledge from our employees.  With so many wine training programs – what approach is best?

Because the world of wine is so broad and can be intimidating for many, wine training works best as a continuing process, broken down into small, easily digestible bites.  

A “boot camp” approach,  that is a lengthy and intense training session, may work for new hires already conversant in wine, but will be overwhelming for a novice, and probably soon forgotten. 

"Boot camps" do nothing to reinforce the knowledge of long time employees.

Try this...

By incorporating ongoing training into the weekly or bi-weekly routine, information is more easily retained by the staff.  A great time to do this is during pre-shift meetings.  

By focusing on specific subjects, and doing controlled, limited tastings (small pours and spit cups required!), your staff will remember concrete talking points that they can relay to the guest and can use to sell your list.

Also, enrolling wine wines classes taught by one with some experience such as the FDRP, WSET, SWE or CMS is a plus. An outside tutor for example. Establishing a relationship with a wine expert that can be a conduit to your staff. And don’t forget to see if your vendor(s) can host a session on upcoming wines!
Certification should be encouraged as incentive for higher earning potential. Especially if it results in the extra 2 or 3 bottles sold nightly.  Everybody wins! The restaurant wins, the server wins and of course... the customer wins too!

So... selling wine properly is not only very profitable to the business. It keeps your existing customers base happy and it attracts new customers constantly. It really does! ...and it helps when you take the small rewarding steps with thoughtful training.

We often lose track of the fact that the service staff is also the sales staff and arming the staff with knowledge is the smart thing to do.

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