Guide to winning client loyalty with a wine list
18 September 2018
The phrase “there are no bad wines, just differing tastes” is often mentioned in our industry and with good reason. It is precisely for this reason that, to win client loyalty at a restaurant, you ideally need a well-assorted wine list, since there are no exact formulas when it comes to pleasing clients. People also say that “diners judge a restaurant's qualities by its wine list”. It means that variety and product choice are the two aspects that are considered the most.
Are you happy with your restaurant's wine list? Does it help you win client loyalty?
The following is a mini-guide on making your diners delighted about your menu of heavenly elixirs.
What do I need to take into account when creating a wine list?
The gastronomic selection
The first step is choosing wines that can be paired with the food. For instance, a seafood restaurant could have a greater selection of wines for this type of product (white, dry rose wines, young red wines, cava [sparkling white wine]) just like a steakhouse could with red wines. A Japanese restaurant; whose cuisine combines fish, pork, veal, raw foods and fried foods; would require a wine offering with varying acidities, bodies and freshness that can be paired with all their dishes.
Clients are no longer amazed by big-name brands or very processed products in light of health trends. Au contraire. They prefer local wines that come from mid-sized or small, family-owned wine cellars that represent fair and sustainable consumption. As such, evaluating the local wine offerings would be the second thing to consider. Nowadays, finding organic wines on the menu speaks very highly of the restaurant.
The type of client
Wine consumption has extraordinarily varied over the past several years. Once considered a more traditional product that was consumed by a more mature clientele, today wine delights everyone. This is especially true for young clients, who see wine as a sophisticated way to consume alcoholic beverages, paired with their foods. In this respect, it is important to give them the option of ordering it by glass, since it is an easier consumption method.
What do millennials want?
Clients who were born in the eighties and later find social value in wine, as demonstrated in their social networks. There are no guidelines on how to please them, but there are trends:
- They like good wine at a good price. They do not value variety so much as the quality for the price. Bring out your excellent wines for this type of client
- They are influenced by the online opinions of other diners, by influencers and by the online community in general.
- They usually like wines that are made from tempranillo grapes, fruity, soft and easy to taste when paired with food.
- They love discounts. Offering them frequent deals and discounts while always being mindful of quality would be a very strategic move to win their loyalty with a wine list.
To win the loyalty of the most demanding clients, you need to offer them a more complete experience. First, they will check out the wine selection and variety; afterwards, they will review the information they receive about the offering. They tend to show great interest in the history behind everybottle, the wine cellars and any other information that may surprise them. The sommelier plays a key role here.
They are the perfect clients for applying the upselling technique, since they are willing to pay for more expensive and exclusive wines if the staff knows how to sell them.
The house wine
Having a house wine is a tradition that can be beneficial, depending on the type of business. For instance, it is said that the most elegant restaurants do not have a house wine, since it is associated with low quality. However, there are other establishments where clients very much value enjoying a good house wine and feeling that they are not breaking the bank. If you want to offer it in your restaurant, make sure you select a wine that is enjoyable to their palate, that goes well with different dishes and, of course, that is profitable.
Details on your wine list...
Once you have made the selection, it is important to place the following information on the wine list:
- The name of the wine and wine cellar.
- The type of wine, red, pink, white, etc.
- The name of the designation of origin.
- The area of production.
- The harvest year of the grapes.
- The price.
Wine as the focus of your events
One great way to win client loyalty is by holding wine tastings and workshops at your restaurant. Another one is to organize special events to advertise the dishes on your new menu together with your new wine offering. It is a strategy that you can heavily promote on your social networks using live videos on Instagram and Facebook and even by inviting wine influencers to talk about your offering.
Winning client loyalty with your database and wine list
One way of knowing which wines your clients like is by recording their consumption habits in a database, like the one in TheFork Manager. It is a tool used by our member restaurants to record their clients' preferences and subsequently analyze their consumption habits through the statistics generated by the system. Statistics such as which wines are ordered the most, which are ordered the least, during which services are they ordered, with which types of foods, etc.
If your restaurant still does not have TheFork Manager, click here.
The best menus in the area
La Gaffe in Saint-Florent
La Gaffe in Saint-Florent, is one of the most renowned restaurants in France due to its wine offering. It is so renowned that they won the prize for best wine list in the category of traditional and gourmet restaurants at the Tour des Cartes 2018. It is the only national competition that awards the best wine lists in this country with a deep-rooted wine tradition.
Rekondo in San Sebastian
Rekondo is a restaurant with 2 Michelin stars, located in Donostia, Spain, and known as “the university of wine”, since it has more than 127,000 bottles from more than 20 countries. An exceptional wine cellar that is recognized as one of the best in the world and is also the recipient of various national and international prizes.
.As you can see, it is a very interesting time for making the most out of wine! When it comes to winning client loyalty. A time in which entering a restaurant and finding a variety of wines on its tables is an excellent sign. Does your wine list live up to your restaurant? Does it represent you? Do your clients like it? We hope you answered "yes" to all these questions.