How to Increase Wine Sales
Do you “rosé all day”? If you do, you’re not alone. The United States is the frontrunner for wine consumption globally, with a whopping 33 million hectoliters (100 liters) consumed in 2020. France was in second place with a measly 24.7 hectoliters consumed in 2020. Wine has seen an uptick in popularity in recent years, but it has long been loved as a beverage of choice. It was also a staple in historical diets. As a result, wine has recently been the focus of many popular sayings, clothing items, and festivities. The wine market has even increased by 67% in this past year.
Wine is a loved beverage year-round. Some patrons love beer or cocktails more than wine, and others will drink wine on every occasion without question. So, when you want to increase wine sales in your restaurant or bar, you can take a few easy steps.
After evaluating your wine selection, creating an informed staff, matching your wine with the seasons, and considering or installing a self-pour wine system, you will see your wine sales skyrocket!
Evaluate Wine Selection
You probably have many great wines available for purchase at your establishment, but they just won’t sell. If you’re wondering why sales of your expertly chosen wines aren’t taking off like you thought they would, it might be time for you to evaluate your wine selection.
There are several ways you can evaluate your wine selection. The most straightforward evaluation begins with your wine menu. First, you need to decide if you will pair food with wine or wine with food. Traditionally, you would create the food menu, followed by the wine menu. For most dishes, if not all, you will present them with a paired wine that enhances the flavor and experience of both the food and drink. Often, a patron may decide to order a meal based on the wine pairing.
How you present your wine selection on a menu with your food is not the only way to evaluate your wine selection. Pricing your wine can make or break your wine sales. Wine mark-up is typically between 400%-500%. Make sure that you purchase wine from vendors that match your demographic and menu. You do not want to offer wine priced at a level that will make you an elevated profit because your patrons won’t be interested in purchasing it. The price will mostly be out of their preferred range.
Your establishment should be offering every type of wine at all price points. That said, do not focus solely on the price of the wine. The cheapest bottle should not cost more than the most expensive food item. You should also implement competitive pricing. You don’t want to be pricing your wine menu too high or too low compared with your local competition.
If you price your wines too low, you might undervalue your selection and miss out on valuable dollars. On the other hand, if you set the price of your wine too high, you may miss out on a customer base that feels your wines are not worth the cost or simply too expensive.
Your glasses and bottles should be available at all price points, such as low, medium, high, as well as all types of wine, such as red, white, rosé, and sparkling.
Ensuring that you have all levels and types of wine available will allow all patrons the chance to order their preferred kind of wine. A great way to increase wine sales, and your profit, is to offer glasses of wine. Offer glasses at slightly higher prices, like $1-$2 more than you would typically price a quarter of a bottle.
Understanding your customer base is incredibly important when evaluating your wine selection. The way you market yourself to the community should influence the wine you purchase and sell. Purchase wine based on the type of food served in your establishment and your target demographic.
If your target demographic is a younger, more laid-back crowd, it may be to your advantage to focus on selling cheaper, easy to drink wine. If your target demographic is a more established, affluent group, selling more expensive, unique, and brand-name wines may be to your advantage. Each demographic knows what they like to drink. If they don’t see it in your establishment, they won’t visit, and your wine sales will suffer.
An informed staff is a successful staff. If you don’t have a great team at your establishment, all aspects of your business will struggle. The good news is that training your staff on the best ways to increase wine sales doesn’t have to be complicated.
There are many things you can do to train your staff to increase wine sales at your establishment. An informed staff can result in:
- More wine sales: When the staff is knowledgeable about what they are selling, sales increase. They will pass their confidence about the product onto the customers, who want to experience what the staff expresses.
- Happier staff: When sales increase, check totals increase. For staff working in the service industry, like those in restaurants, the total on the bottom line is a means to their survival. So, when wine sales climb and the check total rises, your staff will see more tip money in their pockets. Not only will your business benefit financially from a happier staff, but they will be happier to go to work each day and perform well when their financial compensation increases.
- Happier customers: When staff is happy and educated, the customers are directly affected. Your front-of-house staff members are the faces your customers see most often. Customers love to know that staff knows what they are selling, especially if they are first-time customers. First impressions are just as important in a restaurant setting as in any other.
- More satisfied customers: When customers are satisfied with the service from the staff, especially from their well-informed recommendations, they will be more satisfied with their experience. They will be impressed with the service, selection, and overall experience. More satisfied customers result in:
- More return customers: More return customers can bring in renewed sales and possibly new customers because they want to share their love for your establishment with others!
Creating a more informed staff doesn’t have to be grueling or time-consuming. Of course, training your staff is essential when they join your team, but teaching them about the intricate details of wine sales takes an extra step. To make the training easier on your staff and more accessible for them to understand, educate them on the basics of your wine selection. Then, once they know the basics, train them about the specifics of each type of wine.
A great way to inform your staff about your wines is by allowing them to sample them. You may even encourage all of your of-age staff, not just the bartenders and servers, to sample the wines. Allowing the entire staff to sample the wines ensures that anyone can answer questions related to the wines.
When conducting sampling lessons, don’t overwhelm your staff with too many wines or too much information at one time. It is best to focus on one type of wine during each session, like all Chardonnay, Merlot, or Prosecco, for example.
When training your staff about the wines, teach them using the same terminology you want them to use while selling. Your staff can describe wine using many terms, and many of them can sound stuffy or confusing to some demographics. If your customers are using terms like “fruity,” “sweet,” “oaky,” “bold and full,” etc., have staff use those exact words to increase understanding of selection between staff and customers.
The final way to increase wine sales by having an informed staff is by teaching them the art of selling. Most experienced restaurant workers understand how to sell, but more effort needs to be put forth when the goal is to increase sales. For example, you can teach your staff how to tell a story when they are selling each wine, how to make informed recommendations, and how to upsell. Excellent ways to upsell are offering 1.5 glass pours, bottle service (higher profit), and offering cork-and-go services if allowed in your state.
Match Wine Specials and Types with Current Season
Imagine sitting in a cozy chair at a warm fireplace and drinking cold, sparkling wine. It doesn’t seem right, does it? It probably seems like a less-than-ideal pairing. The ambiance seems off. However, a bold, warm glass of red wine, such as Merlot, may be suitable for a cold night. Now, imagine you’re sitting poolside with a warm glass of Merlot. The heaviness of a glass of warm, red wine may be too much for a hot summer day. A glass of cold rosé or sparkling wine would be more enjoyable.
That’s the magic of matching your wine with the season. Matching wine with the seasons can increase your wine sales just as quickly as the first chilly day has fall lovers rushing to decorate for Halloween. The idea exists because each season and type of weather has a kind of wine that pairs best with it. For example, just like seasons promote the consumption of certain types of food, they encourage the consumption of certain types of wine.
Here are some of the most popular types of wine for each season:
- Summer: Sauvignon Blanc and Rosé
- Fall: Tempranillo, Semillon, Barbera, Grenache, and Chenin Blanc
- Winter: Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and other dark and full-bodied wines
- Holidays/Winter: Cava, Sparkling wines, Prosecco, and Champagne
- Spring: Lighter red wines like Pinot Noir and sweeter white wines, such as Moscato
When showcasing seasonally favored wines, work in the season to your food specials. For example, increase wine sales in winter by pairing a warm, comfort food like a stew in the winter with a glass of Merlot or pair a seafood salad with a glass of Pinot Grigio in the summer or spring.
Another creative way to encourage seasonal wine sales is to create seasonal cocktails using your wine. A great idea is to have a monthly or quarterly sangria menu. For example, in the fall, you can make an apple cider sangria and a fruity Spanish-inspired sangria in the summer.
Self-pour wine taps
Having a self-pour wine system and increasing wine sales go hand-in-hand. Installing a PourMyBeer self-pour wine system in your establishment is truly a win-win situation for your bottom line and your customers’ happiness. There are many benefits to having a self-pour wine system other than increased wine sales, like less waste and more customer convenience.
What is a self-pour wine system?
A PourMyBeer self-pour system is essentially a traditional tap set-up like you would see behind a bar but without a bar in front of it. You would typically expect beer to pour from the taps, but wine pours from them with this system. The tap system includes almost everything identical to a beer tap system: kegs, a coupler, tubing, shanks, and faucets. You would store the wine in and tap it from a stainless-steel keg with a metal tap on the external wall.
The wine inside the kegs is the exact wine produced for bottles. However, instead of the wine being packaged and sold in bottles, it’s placed into the stainless steel kegs. The kegs hold a significant amount of wine: about 120 glasses or about 26 bottles of wine.
When the wine is tapped, argon and nitrogen push it from the keg into the glass, protecting the wine and preventing oxidization, which degrades its flavor and aroma. As a result, you’ll find that the wine in your kegs will last and taste better much longer than with traditional bottles, saving you loads of money.
How does it work?
The self-pour wine system is easy to use! After seating your customers, issue each of them an RFID card to swipe before filling their glasses. They can preload these cards to run out after a certain amount or use them as a bar tab with the balance increasing after each swipe.
After the customer looks over your extensive wine selection and decides what they would like to drink, they swipe their card and pull the tap to dispense their wine. They possess the ultimate freedom to choose how they would like to drink their wine. They can create a small tasting selection of multiple wines or pour full glasses of one type of wine.
When the customer swipes the card, every drop of wine is accounted for and tracked. Your customer can see how much each glass is costing them right as they pour it. When the card balance gets low, the machine alerts the customer to refill their card and continue drinking.
At the end of their visit, the customer returns their card to their server or bartender. Your staff member will then add the card balance to their overall bill. Your staff members no longer have to track what their customers are drinking on a busy night because the process is in the customers’ hands.
Self-pour system better than traditional bottles
As a businessperson, you want to ensure that the choices you are making for your business are the right ones. So when you decide on a self-pour wine system, you absolutely are. A self-pour wine system is better than traditional wine bottles because they create less waste, less mess, preserve the wine longer, and their accuracy will save you money. Your customers will be happy with your choice, too.
The PourMyBeer self-pour wine system creates less waste than traditional wine bottles because your staff will no longer have to fidget with bottles of wine or wine glasses. In addition, your staff will no longer have to worry about heavy trash bags filled with empty wine bottles or sweeping up tiny, dangerous shards of broken glass.
Without having bottles and glasses, you don’t have to worry about bottles breaking, spilling, and making messes. Accidentally pouring drinks on customers will become a thing of the past because customers are doing the pouring! You’ll save money, too, because you won’t have to factor in overpours and spills in your accounting. You will also save any lost money from broken bottles.
Time is as equally important as money, and you will save plenty of that using this system, too! Your staff no longer has to conduct tableside bottle service, which can be time-consuming and not always an effective use of time. The self-pour system puts the control in the customers’ hands to pour when they want, how much they want, and how often they want it.
However, the machine will prevent them from drinking more than two full glasses of wine per hour, ensuring safe consumption. Now, without worrying about tableside service, your staff can focus on providing excellent service to your customers in other ways, such as through hospitality and showing off their knowledge of your wine selection.
Benefits for customers
The restaurant is not the only one that benefits from the PourMyBeer self-pour system. Customers love the convenience of having total autonomy to fill up their wine glasses when they want to and as full as they want to. They also get to participate in the unique and exciting experience of pouring their beer from a tap, which is typically an experience only those working behind the bar get to enjoy.
Your customers will also enjoy the chance to try new wines they usually might not. They can have just a sip of a particular wine, see if they like it, and move on to another wine if not. They may also feel more inclined to try new wines outside of their comfort zones because they can try a small amount. In addition, they no longer have to feel embarrassed for being not knowing about wines.
Lastly, the self-pour system saves your customers time. They can refill their glasses at their leisure without having to wait for their server or bartender to return and do so. Not having to wait makes your customer happier and allows them to be wow-ed by your staff’s service, food, and ambiance!
Learn more about the Pourmybeer self-serve system
Increasing your wine sales has never been easier than with the PourMyBeer self-pour wine system in your establishment! Your staff will be happier. You will save money while simultaneously increasing your profits, and your customers will rejoice about the autonomy and freedom created when they get to pour their wine.
We are available to answer all of your questions, whether you are in the beginning stages of deciding to install a PourMyBeer system or are ready to purchase one today. Contact us to find out how we can help you increase your wine sales, make your customers even happier and catapult your business into a higher level of service.
We can’t wait to hear from you!