This is an excerpt from Restaurant Wine issues #172-174 (March-August 2017).

Sometimes, It’s All About Customer (Wine) Service

The restaurant business is not getting any easier. Margins are thin. Costs are rising. The labor pool is tight. Competition is ferocious. Disposable income for most Americans is shrinking. A recession is in the wings. Customer counts are erratic—if not in decline—for many establishments.

What about your wine service?

It’s part of your overall service, of course. But it requires on-going efforts to keep it at an optimal level. And some of the most egregious wine service faults that can be made—especially to wine loving guests, who are often less forgiving of these missteps—include these four below. And these are a great place to begin in the review of wine service in your establishment.

The staff cannot answer basic guest questions about your wines by the glass.

By the glass programs have grown by leaps and bounds in the past decade; it is not uncommon for a wine oriented restaurant to offer 12 or more of them, especially where a dispensing systems Enomatic and Coravin are being used.

Because wines by the glass are usually the first wines ordered by any customer in your restaurant, make sure that all servers know the basics about each wine:

* what color it is (I’m not kidding); what country and region it comes from;
* what grape variety/varieties it is made from;* whether it is dry, off dry, or sweet;
* whether it was oak aged or not;
* whether it is light or medium or full in body;
* how intense it is in flavor; and, especially,
* what menu items it is good with—and so on.

Once your staff has an excellent handle on your by the glass wines, your wine list should be next in your training efforts.

This is an excerpt from Restaurant Wine issues #172-174 (March-August 2017)

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Restaurant Wine is published by Ronn Wiegand, one of four people in the world to hold the titles of Mas