According to ViVAS research, a joint venture between foodservice provider 3663 and Bibendum Wine, less than half of the operators interviewed cross-promoted wines with menu items, despite consumers claiming that advice and guidance on choosing a wine to match their meal would influence their final purchase.
But while some operators understood that relevant training would help their staff to upsell, a third of pub managers failed to see the value in training their staff to understand more about wine and make recommendations to guests.
“The common objection is that training costs money and time, both of which operators don’t have to spare,” said Henry John, marketing manager at ViVAS. “However, managers could see large improvements with minimal effort and no extra cost.
“The average customer is hugely risk averse when it comes to choosing a wine; they’re looking for comfort and support to ensure that they don’t make the wrong choice. Genuine advice is generally greatly appreciated, as long as it’s considered and not simply pushing the most expensive bottle on the list.
“With a gloomy economic forecast expected for the next three years, operators cannot afford to miss opportunities to encourage consumers to trade up to something more special, especially when more often than not customers want this interaction and recommendation on the perfect wine for their evening out.
“It’s crucial to use this quieter trading period to educate staff and emphasise that giving customers some advice could mean the difference between a glass of house wine and a premium bottle.”
For more information on investing in training to enable staff to upsell wine, see our feature on How to Maximise Drink Sales.