It may come as a surprise, but Australia's most popular alcoholic beverage is not beer; it is wine. 45.1% of Australian adults drank wine in any given 4-week period in 2015, while only 37.6% drank beer. What if your restaurant's wine sales are not reflecting these stats? Here are some changes you can make to keep your customers happy and boost your bottom line.
1) Tweak your wine list design
A separate wine list may look fancy, but it's not an effective promotional tool. A Cornell study discovered that including the wine list on the food menu led to increase in wine sales. Another factor that contributed to higher sales was omitting the dollar sign when listing the price. On the other hand, organising your wines in categories (dry, semi-dry, sparkling, etc) resulted in lower sales. Instead, have a 'Reserve' section on your wine list.
2) Take a note of your customers' preferences
It makes sense that if you guests favour certain wines over others, you keep on selling them. But you can go further than that and stock more varieties from the same wineries, another tactic that boosted sales, as found by the Cornell study. You can work with your wine supplier to find new varieties.
3) Match wine to food
Offering food and wine pairings with one to three wines has been found to increase the wine sales by 7.6% and increase the total restaurant sales by 21%. Teach your staff what type of wine goes with each dish on the menu and constantly encourage the waiters to offer customers help with wine selection. It may even be worth hiring a sommelier to suggest unusual pairings that will catch your guests' interest.
4) Provide sales training
In addition to product knowledge, your waiters also need to know when and how to offer wine. Make it easy for them - offer clear instructions as well as ready-to-use phrases suitable for different stages of the meal: for example, 'Can I start you off with a bottle of wine? Tonight we're featuring…' or 'Would you like me to bring you another bottle now or wait for your main meal to arrive?'
5) Experiment with music
The style of your restaurant will determine to a large degree the music you play, but even if you can't change music genre, you can still experiment with the tempo. Slower music has been found to encourage guests to stay longer at a restaurant and order more drinks.