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How to… upsell wine

18 March 2011
How to… upsell wine

A significant proportion of operators do not encourage their staff to upsell and many managers shun training, with operators failing to see that simple cost-effective measures will encourage customers to opt for quality over value. It's time to realise what opportunities are being missed.

Today, consumers don't just want a drink, they want an experience. And, with the average customer risk averse when it comes to choosing wines when dining out, operators are in a great position to support customers and offer friendly, genuine advice.

Did you know that advice on which wines complement a particular meal is an influencing factor on what a customer purchases? But, in our experience more than half of operators are failing to make any effort to cross-sell their wine lists against their menus.

It's well worth the time and effort to ensure that your staff are always aware of new dishes on your specials board and the associated wines that will enhance these. Don't leave the hard work to the customer. Instead, help them to discover new wines that they wouldn't normally consider or be brave enough to try.

The common concern for operators is that training costs money and time. But large improvements can be seen with minimal effort and usually no extra cost. Use quieter trading periods to educate staff and emphasise that their knowledge could mean the difference between a glass of house wine and a premium bottle.

Don't be the one to stand back and wait. Work with your staff to provide a fantastic experience for your customers and see your profits rise.
Henry JohnMarketing manager, ViVASwww.vivaswine.com

Five steps to the upsell

1 Offer samples Operators looking to persuade their customers to try something new should offer samples. This is a massive opportunity to trade people up very easily from a simple house wine to a mid-range one. Sampling creates an open and interactive environment, and also encourages customers to become more adventurous and educate their palates.

2 Be specific Signposting customers to wines they can trust is a great way to encourage them into areas that are out of their comfort zone. Start your recommendation with: "If you like this, you'll love". It demonstrates that you're listening to your customers' likes and dislikes and are working to give them a better experience.

3 Show them what you've got If you're running a promotion or want to push a particular line, ensure that you position it to catch customers' eyes and generate interest. When selling sparkling wines or Champagne, tempt customers to make a purchase by showing them that it's already chilled and ready to serve.

4 Incentivise Why not run a competition for your staff over a particular week, month or season? The employee who sells the most bottles of a selected wine wins a small prize. Or, encourage staff who understand basic principles to train new starters.

If you are not in a position to offer financial rewards, consider putting alternative plans in place, such as extra time off, to thank the best-performing staff. This will keep employees engaged and encourage them to continue performing to a high standard, as well as emphasise that their hard work is valued, recognised and rewarded.

5 Link selling Link wines to your food menu with chalkboards, tent cards or even request that staff personally highlight relevant, complementary wines to all of their customers. If you make it easy for customers to purchase, they are more likely to buy.

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Jacobs Media Group is honoured to be the recipient of the 2020 Queen's Award for Enterprise.

The highest official awards for UK businesses since being established by royal warrant in 1965. Read more.


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