- Posted by Danielle Gillespie
The restaurant industry is tough and competitive. Rising labor and material costs put the squeeze on profits. You’re constantly faced with the question of how do I increase profits while maintaining costs?
In fact, we were discussing this very problem with one of our industry friends last week and we believe there is a move you can make that will improve your bottom line.
To boil it down: you must begin to approach your wine program as a business unit. It’s time to start changing the way you think; your wine program isn’t just part of your business, it is an entity that can be separately leveraged and fine-tuned to crank up performance.
With that in mind, we put together 4 business tips for putting your wine program to work for you in a way that will result in increased profitability.
1. Don’t Stop Evolving
We’re sorry, but this one is going to take some guts.
Most of what we read and hear about calls for the adoption of technology and, specifically, in order “to succeed in 2017, restaurants will have to step up their game, get more innovative and use technology more strategically.” (NRN)
Because consumers today are focused on novel experiences, restaurants will have to evolve their strategy for connecting and delivering.
DID YOU KNOW THAT…
- 85% of Millennials are more likely to make a purchase if it is personalized to their interests, both in-store and with digital displays (USC Dornsife)
- 48% of Millennials expect brands to customize offers to suit their needs, and 39% will go out of their way to use a customized offer (American Express)
Those are compelling arguments for finding tools that allow you to connect with guests before and after they are at your restaurant and, believe it or not, technology can offer the solution.
If you’re not connected, NPD predicts that you “will fall out of the consideration set and risk being overlooked by a large portion of the U.S. population.” (NRN) So find something, like wine, that appeals to your guests and use it to start a conversation, drawing more guests into your restaurant on a regular basis.
Evolving takes time and maybe even unprecedented courage; nothing worth doing doesn’t. But in the end, if you give a tech solution a try, you might just be the hero.
2. Respect Your Guests
Guests enter your restaurant with the mindset that their needs will be catered to … and, unfortunately, you don’t get a second chance to impress. So it’s important to knock their socks off on the first go.
You can change the simple transaction of selling a bottle of wine to a guest into an opportunity to start a longer term relationship that will “ultimately be more profitable than if you just sell them something.“ (Forbes)
How do you do this? Start the experience by simply offering a free welcome drink to your most loyal guests.
Continue to engage by articulating your passion for serving the best wine possible. Not a $3000 cult wine but maybe a super find that’s under the radar and won’t break the bank. Showcase your wine menu with an iPad wine list that tells your guests what you want them to know about your wine…maybe even have a few suggestions ready for a particular guest upon arrival.
New B2B /B2C software solutions from companies like BevSpot, Upserve and Reserve now provide restaurants with data driven insights, tailored CRM capabilities and detailed guest profiles which offer a wealth of information on guest spending, frequency of visits, and cuisine and food preferences – all of which are enabling restaurants to better serve their guests.
When restaurants go out of their way to make a guest feel appreciated, understood and cared for the result is a powerful connection with the guest that is rooted in loyalty and mutual respect.
3. Get the Right People on the Bus
Every team has some star players, some middle-of-the-roaders and the bottom feeders that you could do without. Sometimes you can control who is on your team and sometimes you cannot. But, having the right people and using them to the best of their abilities will result in better, overall success of your business.
Cloud-based inventory systems (like BevSpot) are making cumbersome tasks like inventory more efficient. Likewise, a digital wine program cuts down on the amount of time and money spent reprinting menus. What’s more, a really great digital wine program with an iPad menu can be used as a training tool for your staff to become more proficient with your wine program.
Once you are able to work efficiently, you can spend more time on what’s important: your guests.
Who is tech friendly in your organization? Do your teammates believe their personal bottom line will improve with tech? Are they accustomed to handling tech? You do have to consider whether or not your staff is a willing candidate for tech (maybe technology is just not for you).
With a willing staff you can make the changes required to improve each team player’s impact on the business.
4. Don’t Try to do Everything Yourself
We get it: your time is in high demand and you are crazy busy from the moment you get to work. But, there are people who want to help. Sure, there are bogus vendors out there who just want to take your money and hang you out to dry. There are horror stories of tech platforms that are cumbersome and make you want to re-enact the Office Space printer crush.
But the vast majority of us new guys really do want you to succeed because we love dining at restaurants; we WANT you to be around for a long, long time and we want others, like us, frequently dining with you as well.
Our restaurant partners that grant us the privilege to help really do see results — we consider ourselves an extension of your team and we are there to pitch in as required.
What’s the Point?
Notice a theme? Yes, a strategic use of technology will help you step up your game and increase your profitability. If you don’t believe us, hear it from an industry expert: “Technology must and is playing a key role to optimize the bottom line and provide a great guest experience,” he said.
And, yes, we recognize that this approach is NOT easy.
It IS easy to say “I Can’t”. But the fact is, competition isn’t going to go away and stalled traffic isn’t going to un-stall itself.
And this is where we get a little bit in your face: it’s time to take the bull by the horns and take the technology plunge if you want to succeed in coming years!