Restaurateurs at the forefront of wine preservation technology can attest to the system’s financial merits. Wine savvy guests, who are more apt to try something new, know what to look for in a strong by-the-glass program. Once they are confident that their wine is being served at its peak freshness, they are coming back, building relationships with servers and getting bolder in their tastes.
“Guests will come in and say, ‘give me something crisp and refreshing,’” says Dominick Purnomo, owner of Yono’s Restaurant in Albany, New York. “They want something new. I will buy certain wines by-the-glass for certain guests.”
Satisfied, returning customers might be the obvious desired outcome, but there is another factor at stake. It’s called the “veto vote,” and it is something that all restaurants should consider. The veto vote occurs, especially in groups of people looking for a place to dine, when restaurant choices are taken out of the equation based on perceived flaws by one individual. Not enough vegetarian options might be a reason, or memories of a past wine experience gone wrong. Restaurateurs may not ever know the number of potential customers – or groups of customers – lost due to this phenomenon, but they can certainly be proactive in avoiding a future wine veto by offering a flawless by-the-glass program.
Wine is one of the few affordable luxuries, which is why it is so important to draw in guests with a list that offers several wines at different price points. Purnomo’s top-tier wine preservation system allows him to offer an array of wines that would not otherwise be sensible by-the-glass options. The outcome is a higher profit through customer attraction alone with the added bonus of little to no waste.
Before the addition of his preservation system, Purnomo says that opening a Magnum sized bottle would just not have happened. Now, he can take out that 24 inch bottle of Trimbach Reisling Reserve with confidence, (an attractive, attention drawing bottle, he says) which leads to increased customer interest, along with that elusive dining out thrill that will keep them coming back. And if that special bottle doesn’t sell completely before a holiday or a day that the restaurant is closed? No problem. With the right system in place, the wine will be just as fresh when you reopen. “The more you can trim your waste,” Purnomo states, “the more dollars in your pocket.”
Restaurant owners like the Elbow Room’s Michael Shirinian, are thrilled to discover these unexpected money saving byproducts of their wine preservation systems. Take sparkling wine, for example, which Shirinian was buying by the 187ml bottle in fear of wasting the better part of a 750 due to spoilage.
“I was irritated about opening 750s and then having to dump half the bottle.” Finding a preservation system that injects the precise amount of CO2 into the opened bottle not only meant switching back to 750s – “at a huge discount” – but it also gave Shirinian the confidence to offer iconic, rarely seen by-the-glass, sparkling selections. Add that to that the money he is saving by eliminating waste and you’ve suddenly earned back thousands of dollars per year. “It’s a money maker for the restaurant,” adds Shirinian, “and it allows you to sell wine in all price categories.”
Another important point to consider is the ever more cautious wine drinker, who might have the money to spend on a high-end bottle, but also wants to be able to drive home responsibly. Give them the opportunity to order that same desired wine, but by-the-glass, and patrons will take it.
A reliable preservation system removes restrictions and helps build relationships with vendors, allowing restaurateurs to take advantage of sales on wines that they wouldn’t normally take a chance on for a by-the-glass program. And maybe one of those deals turns out to be a new customer favorite. Restaurateurs no longer have to turn down a possibility for growth.
The ability to sell more expensive wines at higher profit goals per pour, the freedom that it gives guests to invest in affordable luxury experiences, and the credibility that fresh, perfectly preserved wine brings to a restaurant are all crucial elements of a profitable beverage program. Purnomo sums up the possibilities in one telling statement: “We can pour anything in the world.”