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Eat, drink, & be merry

The holidays are approaching, and a feeling of celebration is filling the air. Every occasion seems a bit more festive, right down to splurging on a bottle of wine with dinner. The holidays are approaching, and a feeling of celebration is filling the air. Every occasion seems a bit more festive, right down to splurging on a bottle of wine with dinner. For aficionados, ordering wine is adventurous and exciting. But for others it can be downright intimidating. Should I order red or white with the pasta? What's the difference between chardonnay and sauvignon blanc, or between zinfandel and cabernet?

Help your guests experience the fun and flavor of wine, and enjoy the extra profits from a boost in wine sales. Begin with information, a few marketing ideas, and an attitude that wine can be fun, as well as a delicious complement to your cuisine.

One note: If you don't serve wine in your operation, these marketing tips can easily apply to gourmet coffees, flavored teas, or other specialty drinks on your menu.

Information is power 

Know your wines. Taste them and compare them to one another. Pair wines with food on your menu. And encourage your servers to make educated recommendations. When your sales rep brings samples, share them with your staff and ask them to rate the wines . You'll be amazed at how a little information can boost confidence and lead to recommendations that increase sales.

Take the mystery out of ordering 

Use your wine list to educate your customers about the wines you feature. Use descriptive words like sweet, dry, smokey, buttery, and fruity. Let your customers know that you list your wines from dry to sweet for whites, and from light- to full- bodied for reds.

Eliminate costly mistakes 

Guests can be intimidated by the price of wine, and become wary of ordering a wine they've never tried. With the help of your staff, select house wines that are reasonably priced. Feature a special wine of the week at an exceptional price. This lowers the risk and allows your guests to experiment more freely.

Tabletop marketing 

Take advantage of the power of suggestion, and the beauty of wine labels. Place bottles of your house wines, wine glasses, and a wine opener on each tabletop. Use a table tent to describe the wines, and encourage guests to help themselves. Many wineries even offer private label wines featuring your restaurant's name or logo at a variety of price points. This will help reinforce your brand, and sales will soar.

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Practice makes perfect 

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