Pocket-size sommelier

O'Charley's is hoping a handy food and wine pairing reference tool that debuts this month at all its locations will transform ordinary servers into sommeliers.

The Wine Finder as it's called may be small enough to fit into a server's apron, but it's packed with enough information to help the servers suggest and hopefully sell more wine.

The guide is sort of a slide-rule made of cardboard that matches each of O'Charley's top-selling entrees and appetizers with a wine recommendation that includes flavor notes as well as specific brands.

"The whole purpose behind this was to be more education-oriented," says Colleen Brennan, beverage manager. "With the thought, of course, that if your servers are more educated and armed with some more tools, then the sales will follow."

The chain is also testing leaving the Wine Finder on tables for customers to use themselves. "If they take them home, that's fine too," notes Brennan. "It's got the O'Charley's logo on it."

Currently, wine accounts for only 1% of total alcoholic beverage sales at O'Charley's, and execs hope the Wine Finder will boost that percentage.

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