The restaurant industry is flourishing most when savvy restaurateurs invest in improving their operations. Every restaurant has its own unique set of challenges but adding a robust wine program to the list can throw a chink in the chain. From storing wine bottles to preserving the opened product, this can pose a challenge for even the most experienced restaurant manager. Read on to discover the four most common challenges restaurants face when it comes to wine and some profit-saving solutions to combat them.
One thing we hear most from our restaurant clients is about how crowded their bar space is. We get it- there are bottles upon bottles of wine, liquor and other spirits behind the bar. Not only does this make it challenging for employees to find things or access them easily during busy times, but it cuts back on the workspace for your bartenders to craft stunning drinks. Additionally, for restaurants that don’t have a built-in wine cellar or storage area, this can limit what you can do in terms of a wine program.
Don’t let space constraints hold you back. We designed the WineStation Cellar- with crowded bar spaces in mind. The unit is capable of storing between 80 to 140 bottles in a commercial grade cooler. Restaurants can save several cubic feet of shelf and floor space while adequately storing their top wines in the temperature-controlled unit. Efficient storage saves space and increases time efficiency. Win-win!
Time is Money
During a busy rush, your bartenders are usually stretched too thin or moving too fast to worry about accurately measuring out drinks like they can during a lull. Their chief concern is operating as quickly as possible while still putting out a great tasting drink. Moreover, bartenders usually have to make drinks for both the bar area as well as the entire restaurant.
The WineStation’s dispensing system ensures precise pours are made every single time, even for tasting pours as low as 0.25 oz. Having a system capable of dispensing accurate pours every time eliminates waste and over-pouring during those busy spurts. Additionally, keeping inventory during busy times has never been easier than with the WineStation Cellar’s reporting feature to precisely measure how much wine has been dispensed or sold and how much is remaining.
Not every staff member can be a sommelier, nor would you expect that. Some bartenders’ passions lie in spirits vs. wine, and some servers haven’t received any formal training to be able to offer pairing suggestions or proper upsells. How do you get a staff member who is ultimately unfamiliar with wine to be able to sell through an extensive wine list or expensive bottle without offering some continuing education or wine training?
Having a system that can keep this top of mind is the way to go. The WineStation Cellar has an LCD above each bottle slot, which is useful for staff members who are either unfamiliar with or can’t remember the details of each wine on the menu. The customizable screens on the WineStation Cellar display information about the wines as well as pairing notes, which gives servers confidence to make recommendations and talk intelligently about the wines without the need for extensive training.
Expanding your wine program by offering a robust by-the-glass wine list can maximize profits when done correctly. However, without the right tools, it can end up tanking profit margins. Businesses that fail to keep wine stored in the right conditions inevitably end up pouring a big chunk of profit down the drain, literally. Often wine opened for by-the-glass pours ends up being discarded at the end of the night or the next morning due to oxidation drastically changing the flavor of the wine.
Consumers are aware of wine preservation issues in restaurants, and if you improperly preserve your wine, they may not purchase- especially when it comes to expensive wines. Dummies.com even warns consumers about ordering wine by the glass in an article titled Wine in Restaurants: By the Glass or Buy the Bottle? They mention that “one of the risks in ordering wines “by-the-glass” is that they can taste tired if they have not been kept properly. Dummies.com recommends that customers “ask the server, ‘How long has this bottle been open?’ Ideally, the wine was opened that day. If the server doesn’t know, that’s a bad sign.”
Of course, not all restaurants can afford to serve wine just from bottles opened that day. The WineStation Cellar’s preservation system solves this issue by allowing business owners to extend the life of an open bottle from 3 days to 60 days, keeping the flavor consistent and as fresh as if it were just uncorked.
The system uses high-grade argon gas in addition to a patented Universal Clean-Pour Dispensing head. The result is a longer shelf life and a more hygienic method of dispensing. Restaurants practicing this type of proper preservation can expect to eliminate loss, increase revenue, and enhance the customer experience.
Inside Park at St. Barts is just one example of how serving wine by the glass through the WineStation extended their profits:
“We’re a restaurant, so we put high-end wines by the glass in the WineStation. We’re in the middle of Manhattan with affluent clients. We’ve sold more high-end wines by the glass since (the WineStation).” – Paul Forgione
As the restaurant industry continues to expand, so does the need for new ways to maintain profitability and utilizing technological solutions can help sustain the health of your restaurant. The WineStation Cellar is a powerful piece of equipment that provides solutions to space, time, sales, and, wine related issues. It’s a smart solution for restaurant owners who believe in working smarter and not harder.