Restaurant Training :: Sell More Wine. Teach Your Waitstaff to Suggest Wine More Effectively

By Brian Lemay No comments

Selling wine drives up sales and tips. As a server your goal is to make wine accessible
and alluring so your guests will want to buy a glass or bottle. But don’t worry. You don’t need to know all the fancy terminology
or where the grapes came from or how to smell wine properly you just need to know how to
sell it because selling more wine means you and the restaurant make more money with the
same number of tables. And who knows? Selling a lot of wine could also help you
stand out as a server worthy of the best sections and the best tables. Some servers don’t feel comfortable encouraging
guests to order wine because they feel like they are being pushy with an expensive drink. Luckily you don’t need to be pushy. As a server your job is to simply to suggest
and offer. Let the guest decide for themselves what they
can or cannot afford. Here is the first item on your to-do list:
write down and eventually memorize one wine pairing for the five most popular dishes at
the restaurant. That way when someone orders one of those
dishes you can say ‘oh, that pairs perfectly with a glass of our house pinot noir for just
$6. Can I bring you a taste of it?’ You should alway announce the price of an
item to a guest. People will feel uncomfortable asking and
they may assume you are trying to sell them the most expensive wine offered. Also don’t offer pairing tips to every guest. The key is to get one person to order wine
so other guests are more comfortable joining them. How do you know what pairs with the entrees? Ask your manager. The menu might even suggest a pairing. And it doesn’t hurt to repeat the menu’s recommendation
to the guest. Offering a taste to the guest is a great selling
tool. If the guest accepts ask for their ID where
appropriate and ask if anyone else would like to try that wine or any other wine sold by
the glass. Most restaurants are only willing to let people
try wine served by the glass. Here is your second task: choose five of your
best selling wines and give them nicknames based on their flavor. Does the wine give off hints of candy? Call it your Katy Perry. A strong flavor with a big kick? Call it your ’69 Mustang. This is a great way to connect with your guests
and help them choose a wine. When can you drop a nickname? Go ahead and mention the wine when you are
introducing yourself and the specials. You can mention that you are featuring your
Julia Child of wines tonight, the house Zinfandel, which earned it’s name for it’s strong finish
of herbs and spices. Ideally you get other servers in on this so
you’re all using the same nicknames. Another great way to sell wine is through
stories. Maybe you just read that a particular wine
got a good rating from a magazine or guide. Maybe someone famous drinks this wine. Remember, guests don’t care about fancy jargon. They want a wine they can make a connection
with. Remember to have positive, relaxed body language. Always smile. Maybe even nod your head a little to show
confidence. Practice and hone your style. Suggesting wine is nothing to feel guilty
about. The guests that take you up on your offer
will be glad they did. Let your tables decide for themselves what
they can and cannot afford. Your job is just to make sure that guests
feel comfortable ordering a glass of wine because you gave them the opportunity.

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