It is not hard to sell wine in any on-trade outlet. But it is hard to sell it well, and in a way that gives you maximum profit. Sommelier and wine educator, Raul Diaz, explains why it is so important to make wine training and education a part of any business plan. After all you are giving your staff the power to sell it, so why not help them sell it well…for you and for them.
Here are Raul Diaz’s seven steps on how to incorporate wine in to an operator’s business plan:
Wine Training in the context of a business plan
Any on-trade business that wants to make a big and sustainable impact in the market they are competing in must have a training programme. Here we are talking about Wine. Yes, Wine with a capital letter. When it comes to making a real profit from the drinks side of your business, then wine is a key area to get right.
If you want to deliver an inspiring concept for your customers wine can make a huge difference.
Wine training sounds nice and straightforward to most people. Everybody wants to drink wine and learn more about it. But the fundamental issue is how many people in the on-trade are prepared to take wine seriously.
We are not talking about wine in an old-fashioned way, or concentrating on just learning about wine or how to serve it. To really make wine an important part of your business you have to decide what sort of wine offer and concept you are going to have for wine in your venue.
It is essential to recognise the value of the wine in your operation. There are so many different levels.
Wine is flexible enough to please all budgets but it is mandatory to know what you want to offer. A restaurant can be very successful selling wines that are well priced, that have good stories behind them, which does not involve overcharging the customer. You have to decide what is the right concept and offer for you. Remember you can offer top class wine for an exclusive environment.
It’s all about finding the right context.
The game changer is how you deliver this concept. Once we know the main “wine plan”, it is time to spread that idea in to your operation and with your employees.
This is the practical strategy. And vital to get right.
Any operator will have a budget for every single area of their business. Wine training must also have one.
It should also be delivered with precision and passion.
If you are looking to work with a wine consultancy then any trainer must show three basic credentials.
1. Relevant background. A solid and certified expertise in wine. For example, if a trainer has never worked in the hospitality industry they have zero credibility.
2. Training programme. Any potential client should get a detailed syllabus of the training sessions, practical workshops and the overall aim of the results of the training.
3. Tracking the results of any training. The client should take the time to be part of the sessions themselves and ask the trainer to asses the team on a regular basis.
Once you know the wine concept that you want to offer and arrange the right way to deliver a training programme, the next step must be make it social. That means letting your customers know. Social media is vital if yo want to reinforce your wine concept not only with your staff but with your customers.
Make your customers feel confident you know what you are doing and that you will be able to deliver exactly what it says on the front door of your establishment or on your website.
Seventh and final step
It is all about people. Your team is the most important part of a successful business plan. Believe in your wine concept and in your training programme because it will make an enormous difference.
Don’t just do it once and stop.
Keep delivering the training sessions, tracking improvements and creating new ideas that you can implement on a regular basis with the entire team.
- Raul Diaz trained as a sommelier in 2004 and has worked in a number of premium outlets including Michel Roux Jr. and Gary Rhodes in London. He spent many years working at Jascots Wine Merchants as both their internal and training manager, which is where he developed many of the tailored training programs to work across all channels. He will be working with The Buyer offering his advice, getting involved in our events and writing further educational and business pieces for the site.
- You can watch a series of educational wine videos by Raul on his dedicated YouTube channel here.
- To contact Raul go to firstname.lastname@example.org and his website at www.winetraining.co.uk.