The challenges of increasing wine sales are faced by every restaurant of every caliber. It’s difficult to keep your staff and customers educated on the wines you serve, and maintaining an up-to-date wine menu with the right information is time consuming. And even if you can accomplish those things, turning happy customers into loyal ones is a whole new type of challenge.
These obstacles put a strain on communication between your customers and staff, resulting in lower wine sales and raised barriers to genuine interactions and brand loyalty.
But you don’t have to settle for mediocre wine sales.
Two key systems have emerged in recent years that are boosting wine sales across the country – sometimes overnight: the virtual wine list and virtual wine lockers. They work independently, but as a team, these systems perform extraordinarily well.
This dynamic duo won Capital Grille the 2017 Use of Technology Improves the Experience Award by Technomic. The customer-centric study shows that this pair of services is well received and appreciated by customers at high-end, full service restaurants.
With these tools, you can develop a thriving wine program that encourages engagement between customers and staff, generates customer loyalty and relationships, and inevitably drives sales. Let’s get you beyond your current wine sales plateau and see your wine program grow.
HOW TO INCREASE WINE SALES WITH A VIRTUAL WINE LIST
Paper wine lists are simple and classic, but they are a missed opportunity. You’re extremely limited to the amount of information you can put on them, which tends to leave your customers in the dark about the nuance details of your wine selection.
This doesn’t just reduce the confidence and knowledge of your customers, but it hinders communication between them and your staff since there is little or no common language to talk about wines with. Uneducated and apprehensive customers don’t ask as many questions, don’t engage as passionately, and don’t drink as much wine as their educated peers.
On the flip side, service staff often have a hard time keeping up with the wine selection. You can imagine how difficult it is to memorize origin stories and tasting notes for 100+ wines on top of regular duties. This harms your servers’ ability to be effective, educated salespeople.
Poor education, a lack of common language, and the inability for customers and staff to engage in valuable discussion about your wine selection create a knot in your wine sales process and lead to lackluster sales. The solution? A virtual wine list.
“We really saw the potential long-term value in it,” Tom Donahue, the general manager of Shula’s Steak House in Naples, Florida says. “It allowed us to take something we already serve and sell more of it. We didn’t have to reinvent the wheel. We just saw our sales go up.”
Shula’s Steak House implemented a virtual wine list during the restaurant’s off-season and instantly saw an 18% increase in wine sales. By making wine information accessible to new and veteran customers and widening the channel of communication between customer and server, Shula’s saw their wine program grow dramatically.
“So now, guests can see not only the BIN number and a price, but they can educate themselves, get tasting notes from the winemaker and other experts, see the accolades the wine has received, and look at options before they commit to a bottle. Educated guests drive revenue.”
Virtual wine lists are easy to manage and offer an empowering space for your customers to learn and grow while they dine and drink.
HOW TO INCREASE WINE SALES WITH A VIRTUAL WINE LOCKER
Wine lockers are valuable real estate in the nation’s more prestigious restaurants. They increase brand loyalty, encourage repeat visits, and provide an exclusive experience. Sadly, they’re out of reach for many restaurants.
Renovations for lockers can be a major expense and result in the loss of precious space and business uptime. But there’s an easy way around these barriers: a virtual wine locker.
Virtual wine lockers behave like physical ones – they provide a method for customers to store their favorite bottles, create a personal reserved wine cellar, and keep their wines for on-demand enjoying – but they’re not limited by physical or financial boundaries.
These virtual lockers give you the ability to sell wines even before they’re removed from the cellar. This enables you to make more informed buying decisions, rather than guessing about which bottles to keep stocked. When paired with the virtual wine list, you can easily unlist out-of-stock wines.
Encourage customers to dine and entertain at your restaurant by allowing them to store their favorite bottles and gift bottles to other lockers. Give customers the ability to follow other lockers, share comments with fellow locker holders, and make notes on what they’re drinking.
Virtual wine locker technology is simple to manage and can transform your restaurant’s wine experience, causing a boost in sales as your loyal visitors engage on a personal level.
VIRTUAL WINE LISTS AND LOCKERS: THE DYNAMIC DUO
Virtual wine lists and lockers, when paired together, have the power to revolutionize the way you sell wine. Educate and empower your customers and staff, pave the way for common language and good communication, and offer a method for your most loyal customers to personally invest in your restaurant in an exclusive way.
Take it from Mr. Donahue: “This system from Uptown Network changes the game for the guest, no matter their level of wine knowledge.”