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Sommeliers Choice Awards chats with top sommeliers around the world such as Adriana Valentini, James Bube MS, Will Costello MS, Vincenzo Arnese, and Tonya Pitts share how wine brands can help their restaurant wine buyers grow their sales. Here's what they have to say.
This differs on your market so your mileage may vary here, don’t forget to check your local laws! Where there are deals on quantity or "family plans," you can lower your overall cost if you're going to "partner" with a given supplier be it locally or nationally. Ultimately understanding that your vendors are generally only compensated by sales, managing expectations, and being realistic with what you may be able to deliver is very important. Many suppliers have budgets for events and to an extent, you can establish your venue as a place to potentially hold a trade tasting (can't wait for these to come back again!). You can generate revenue when your establishment may otherwise be dark and get others in the industry more comfortable with your brand. View James L Bube's profile.
For a wine supplier, communication with their audience is important - understanding the venue and possible customers. A great way to do this is by having a very well-made website, and by investing in the quality of their products range at all stages of production and consistency by delivering to us, the final customers, quality vintages and up-to-date price updates with our orders.
Suppliers know their inventory and the ability to create deals. If I know I am trying to drive some margin on my sauvignon blanc by the glass, a savvy supplier could let me know of a 3-month deal on a wine, and would/could support my requested pricing in order for guaranteed volume. If the restaurant is of high visibility; table tents or branded POS could also be supplied in order to support the wine placement.
Your sales rep should be able to give you a heads-up on upcoming sales at least a month in advance so you can pre-order and get your budget ready. Also, if you have the storage space, buy in volume to help lower costs. Reps should also be helpful with the sales training - they can taste/train the associates on their wines and help you to organize winemaker dinners. To find older vintages, I also worked with private clients and would buy portions of their collections. This helped me greatly at Crown, where there was a demand for older vintages that many suppliers could not fulfill. That category was successful for us.
Suppliers are an important part of a restaurant, their help can drive the results to a higher level. We need to have healthy relationships, based on trust and mutual understanding. The best supplier that I have are the ones that are aware of my guest’s needs and come up with the right solution.
For a large organized wine program, the wine team knows exactly what and how to navigate producers and wines swiftly, and what we really need is deep discounts on large orders, or incentives for BTG and incentives for long-term relationships. Suppliers can also offer their assistance in showcasing wine education at line-ups on any given day.
Suppliers can help with pricing, staff education, incentives for staff, and helping the professional locate new products to offer your customers. I like to call them products of interest to your clientele.
Suppliers most often do a fantastic job of doing precisely what is needed of them. They bring you the wines that suit your beverage program, drive sales and satisfy sales expectations in a mutually beneficial way. My favorite reps are those that deliver to you what you asked for, and hopefully even more than that. Insights about promotions, great values, hot items, rare finds and high quality are traits that endear me to most wine reps. Understanding the buyer intimately, and delivering SKUs that suit their needs is paramount to driving sales in any sales environment.