Selling Wine: Wine Keys to Dining Sales Success

The elixir of a memorable dining experience is wine. It boosts sales, builds rapport, enhances the food and mood, and heightens the experience.

  1. Increases sales. Guests dine with wine. When you sell a bottle, guests order more appetizers, soups, salads, entrées, and desserts. In short, wine turns eaters into diners. And, when you sell a medium-priced bottle, it’s like adding an entrée or a guest to your table. If you hit the jackpot with a bottle of Cristal Champagne, you’ve added a station to your station. Keep in mind that when you sell wine you also get a higher percentage tip.
  1. Lowers stress and establishes trust. Since wine is intimidating, helpful suggestions and embarrassment-lowering insights are welcomed with open arms. Crank up that iPhone and scan the labels for the inside scoop on a wine’s origin and key words to describe it. For example, “Our Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc comes from the cool Marlborough Valley of New Zealand. It’s crisp and dry with flavors of Meyer lemon and Key lime.” Demystifying wine puts guests at ease and establishes your credibility.
  1. Enhances the mood. Think of wine as the great softener-upper. Inhibitions go south under wine’s seductive spell. Guests will trade up to that ravioli appetizer, a Margarita pizza for the table, salads for all, and a round of Remy’s and cappuccinos to top things off.
  1. Promotes sharing, celebration, and romance. Like passing around a peace pipe or breaking bread, guests commiserate with wine. Inspiring a toast of Veuve Clicquot or Dom Perignon is the perfect way to jumpstart an anniversary, wedding, reunion, deal closing, and even a divorce party. And, romantic couples will luxuriate starry eyed over a bottle of a luscious, supple, soft Merlot. Wine is sexy.
  1. Establishs your credibility. Impressing guests with a stunningly rich Chilean Cabernet or a refreshing Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand is proof positive of your wine prowess and sets up for sales of all items from the menu and beverage list.
  1. Makes for attentive and profitable service. Beyond the pomp and circumstance of opening and serving wine lay other benefits. Wine allows you to be present to anticipate needs as well as take advantage of sales opportunities. Perhaps a guest needs a fork or a fresh napkin while another needs her Grey Goose Martini refreshed.
  1. Enhances the food. A perfect wine pairing creates a mouthful of wow. Matching up crisp Champagne with salty cold water Chesapeake Bay oysters or a Niman Ranch filet mignon with a juicy, rich Malbec will ensure a magnificent dining experience.
  1. Creates a wow. In an order-taking world of leaving the wine list on the table like a piece of dead wood, we abandon the buyer. A wine conversation builds a personal connection and guarantees high marks on the guest report card. Years ago, I turned a gentleman on to the classic Ruffino Ducale Reserva Gold Label Chianti and later steamed off the label and placed it on a card as a memento of the experience. He dined with me at least once a week over the next three years, and I raked in eight grand in tips.

With wine, there’s no better way to feed your guests’ egos, hearts, senses and memories and dreams.

About the Author

BOB BROWN, president of Bob Brown Service Solutions,, was the #1 speaker at the 2017 National Restaurant Show. He has worked with hospitality icons such as Disney, Hilton, Morton’s of Chicago, Nordstrom, Olive Garden, and Ritz Carlton and works internationally with the prestigious seven-star Burj Al Arab in Dubai. He has appeared on the Food Network and is author of The Little Brown Book of Restaurant Success, selling over 100,000 copies worldwide. Contact Bob for keynotes, breakouts, and workshops at 571-246-2944 ©Bob Brown Service Solutions 2016.

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