Whether your restaurant offers a casual or fine dining experience, having a wine list can make you stand out and improve your bottom line. In fact, hospitality venues find that alcohol sales bring the highest profit margins, especially when you find the right wine suppliers.
However, not everyone can afford to hire a sommelier so the responsibility of selecting beverage offerings falls on the laps of the restaurant managers or the owners themselves. This proves to be challenging and sometimes overwhelming, for those who are not quite as savvy with wines.
To get you started, here are our top 5 tips to help you create your drinks menu and bring in more sales.
Your wine list must be diverse enough to provide options for varying tastes, but also well-planned to match your food menu seamlessly. While it may be tempting to stock up on award-winning bottles, they won’t matter if you can’t sell them.
Having a wide range of wines is tough because traditionally, you’ll have to choose from different wineries or talk to several suppliers. Luckily, WINEDEPOT’s MARKET, an online marketplace that connects suppliers and buyers, makes it easier.
With hundreds of wine and beverage suppliers, you have access to thousands of products and orders are conveniently processed via one invoice, delivery and platform. Plus, you have the option to buy a bottle or purchase alcohol in bulk.
There are customers who will arrive at your restaurant and know what they want right away, but there are also some who may struggle with choosing. Make sure to include grape varieties, regions and simple taste descriptions. You can also add recommended food pairings as a guide to help them choose.
Keep your drinks list fresh by rotating the selection every few months. Similar to your food offerings, your wine selection should vary depending on the season. Typically, rosés and whites are popular during summer while heavy-bodied reds paired with stews and roast meat dishes are preferred in autumn or winter.
It’s good to always keep yourself updated with seasonal wine releases. As a buyer in MARKET, you’ll have first-hand access to new product releases and promotions directly from winemakers. This ensures that you’re always on top of your game.
How your menu is presented can influence consumer’s purchase behaviour. One of the most important pieces of advice when designing a menu is to avoid dollar signs. According to studies, people tend to spend more when they see a menu without currencies.
Another useful tip is to not arrange your wines according to price. Instead, you should group them according to colour or region. Highlight the bottles that bring the highest margins through creative visuals and place them in the middle of the menu where most customers tend to focus.
Like in any other business, your employees are your best brand ambassadors so make sure they’re familiar and knowledgeable about your menu.
Educate them with basic food and wine pairings and let them try your menu. This develops their palate and gives them confidence when giving recommendations to customers.
Let them know of any products that need to be pushed, whether it’s the bottle with the highest margins or the product with slow stock turnover.
A well-curated beverage menu completes customers’ dining experience, so it pays to invest resources and time to educate yourself on wines.
Check out the various resources available online or take classes and workshops. You can even visit wine regions and learn directly from the winemakers themselves.