Restaurants and wine bars are increasingly creative in their wine menu presentations. Why? Because profit margins for wine at restaurants can reach up to 70%. Restaurants and wine bars are looking for ways to stand out and catch the attention of patrons. Marketing your wine selections in an innovative way can potentially drive your sales and profit margin.
Silicon Valley Bank’s Rob McMillan suggests in their 2020 outlook on the wine industry that “we are in the midst of a consumer reset, which requires every winery to reimagine how they sell and market wine.” Baby boomers, while still the dominant consumer of wine, have shown recent changes in how they’re buying and consuming wine and becoming more health-conscious. The median boomer will reach retirement age in 2021 but is projected to work past retirement and continue to consume wine. Gen X is coming on strong - in fact, they’re set to become the largest fine wine consuming demographic by 2022, followed closely in 2027 by the Millenials. Keeping industry trends and each of these demographics in mind will help you determine how to best manage and maximize that profit margin once your custom wine list has been carefully curated.
Presenting Your Wine Menu
Optimize your wine menu through intentional design and remember that presentation is key! A wine presentation that is visually appealing and easy to navigate will promote a positive experience and can help simplify what might otherwise appear to be an overwhelming list of options.
A successful presentation will:
Encourage customers who don’t normally drink wine to consider wine.
Ensure the customers enjoy their selection and overall wine experience.
Encourage customers to purchase a higher-priced item (or recommended selection).
Reflect your branding and quality by using beautiful wine list covers or table display stands.
5 Ways to Organize Your Wine Menu
There are several ways to organize your wine menu and that will resonate with your customers and maximize your sales.
Your wine menu could be organized by:
|Varietals||Wines primarily made from a single source grape. Examples would be cabernet sauvignon, merlot or chardonnay.|
|Location||Where was the wine made?|
|Weight||Lighter to fuller flavor|
|Special Selections||Bottles that are rare or hard to find or that you want to move out of stock|
|Featured Pairings||The more pairings you can provide, the more wine you’re likely to sell and the better meal experience you’ll provide|
Three additional and unique wine list organization strategies include a combination of some of the above ideas. For example, order the menu by varietals:
provide a description of each varietal - make the descriptions fun, peppy and short like The Purple Cafe and Wine BarList the varietal wine by location - show the wines offered by numbers on a map like this one featuring Bordeaux wines
Choose which locations are listed first to help drive sales or list by past sales data
This combination provides all the information a customer needs to choose a wine by varietal and location and allows customers to explore the wine list without focusing on pricing.
Once you’ve carefully selected your wine organization method, take the time to also carefully consider your presentation. Remember, presentation is key, so choosing a custom branded menu made from quality materials can have a positive impact on your customers’ wine experience.
Wine Pairings and Wine Flights - Great Ways to Optimize Sales
A suggested sales optimization strategy includes wine pairings for entrees. There are two methods for doing this: (1) Provide a menu showing the house recommendations on wine/food or, (2) if the customer is intent on one particular wine, offer a discounted price on the wine for pairing it with the meal.
Another sales optimization strategy is to create wine flights. This is a popular way for connoisseurs and wine newbies to try new, favorite, and rare wines. Offering set wine flights (the restaurant chooses the wines) are a great way to incorporate your special selections - especially those wines that you may want to move out of stock as they can be included by the glass in a 3-5 glass wine flight. If the customer is knowledgeable about wine, you may offer a personalized wine flight that is priced according to the wines chosen by the customer.
You’ve taken a great deal of time to curate your wine menu for your business, so match that time and effort with careful planning and designing of your presentation, organization and sales optimization. When you implement a strategy that considers each of these pieces of the framework your profit margin will likely reflect those efforts!