On the surface, selling wine seems easy. Your guests come into your restaurant ready to spend money and have a great night, but somehow, when their server gets to the table, your guests choose not to order wine, opting instead for something flashy, like a cocktail; sturdy, like a beer; or choosing the conservative route and going with a non-alcoholic drink. As a restaurant owner or manager, this situation can get stressful because you didn’t allocate funds to stock a lovely looking wine cellar, you planned on selling every last drop of the wine you ordered. But you can’t do that unless every one of your tables sees wine as a necessary complement to their meal—not as an added expense meant for special occasions. Here’s how to convince your guests that at your restaurant, wine is an everyday thing. Read more
As of September 23, the season finally changed. Here in Chicago, we started seeing glimmerings of cooler weather almost a month ago, when temperatures started dropping into the 40s at night. Hopefully your weather is better than ours here in Chicago (really, I hope it is—the weather here is just dreadful) but at this point, I’m sure your restaurant has stopped serving gazpacho and your pina colada sales have dropped off. It’s time, so here are five delicious autumn drinks you should add to your menu. Read more
Is your customer service less than extraordinary? You want to fix that, now. I know that I harp on a bit about good customer service techniques, but the truth is that you have too much competition in the food and beverage industry to fail in even one aspect of your business. Here are two customer service failures, as well as advice about how you can avoid them in your own business.
iPad wine menus are popping up across the country. But it isn’t only celebrity chefs using the technology. Although you can find iPad beverage menus at Gordon Ramsay’s or André Rochat’s restaurants, restaurants of all sizes across the country are using electronic wine menus, from independent operators to regional and corporate operators nationwide.
One of the hesitations we usually hear from prospective customers is around cost. Having all of these iPads must be so expensive. After all, using paper is cheap, pennies. Let’s break down the costs a little further… Read more
It is rare that a restaurant or bar experiences the confidence to just be itself. On this blog, we talk about how you can improve your sales methods, introduce more alcohol to your menu, or find and hire a good band. However, we have never coached you in how to be who you are—proudly, happily, unabashedly. Today’s post is in celebration of your restaurant, exactly as it is.
The back-to-school season has started and with harried parents, busy kids, cooler weather, and less tourist traffic, your summer rush is pretty much over. If you want to ensure an even bigger and better summer rush next year, you need to tempt new customers to walk through your doors. Of course, there are many ways to entice the public to try out your food, but one of the best ways to get people talking about your restaurant is to establish yourself as an expert. The best way to do that? Write a cookbook. This post tells you the important steps you need to follow to ensure that your cookbook is a hit.
The last few days has seen quite a bit of news about Olive Garden and their parent company, Darden. Starboard Value, a hedge fund that is one of the largest shareholders of the public company, has recently put forward a slate of 12 new board prospects to replace the entire board of Darden. Now, Starboard has released a 300 slide deck blasting the inefficiencies they see with Olive Garden and other concepts like Longhorn Steakhouse, while outlining turnaround steps they would take to get the brands on the right track. According to Starboard, Olive Garden is missing out on $56 million in annual earnings by not taking basic steps with their beverage program.
If you are in the hospitality industry, I highly recommend taking a look at Starboard’s analysis and proposal for yourself. But after spending hours reading through their materials, I’m going to highlight several things called out in the report that all restaurants should be focused on to improve the guest experience and bottom line. While there are a lot of problems identified and solutions proposed in the report, I’m going to focus on alcoholic beverages based on our experience at Uncorkd and provide information on how to improve your beverage sales. Read more
How do you deal with market upsets? The restaurant industry is known for its ability to introduce new and innovative approaches to how food is served, consumed, and perceived by the public, but when something comes along that shakes up the industry as we know it, that’s what’s known as an “upset.” Upsets make it impossible for you to do your job the same way you always have—and today we’re talking about an upset in the food tech space that you never saw coming.
Do you want to add something a little unexpected to your fall drinks menu? A recent article in the New York Times, “Culinary Trends in New York” described all the new, exciting innovations that I did not see coming in the predictions I made for 2014, and they sound delicious. Try adding these three alcohol trends to your drinks menu to spice up the season.
The beverage industry is an industry of trends and catching on to the latest whiskey trend is critical for pleasing customers and increasing beverage sales. Whiskey has been hot for the last couple years, including bourbons, flavored whiskeys and now Irish whiskeys. First there was the Fireball craze, with a younger generation replacing Vodka and other spirits with Fireball as their go-to shot. In just two years, Fireball whiskey increased sales by over 30x, to $60 million in 2013. Other producers released new brands and products in a wide range of flavors from cherry to honey. Bushmills became the first Irish distillery to jump onboard followed by Dewar’s in Scotland, not to mention the dozens of American products. If your restaurant or bar hasn’t started carrying Fireball and other flavored whiskeys, you’re losing money. Don’t miss the next big beverage trend, craft Irish Whiskeys.