Although it is only mid October, I spied Gauthier hosting their first Christmas lunch last Wednesday. So it seems that the festive period has already begun…
With most on-trade establishments’ turning over a significant amount during the Christmas period, it is vitally important to ensure that your wine range works as hard as you and your staff. Your wine list needs to be your best sales tool. In addition, there are some tipsto remember when it comes to merchandising and your staff too.
To ensure that your wine sales are the least of your worries at this time of year, we’ve put together some top tips for the festive season:
1. Champagne needs pride of place. Keep it separate from the other sparkling wines on the wine list as it can confuse customers and entice them to trade down.
2. Focus on what is popular, not what needs to be sold. Hand-selling is a lot easier when a restaurant isn’t full every night of the week.
3. Think about introducing a shorter list for the busy periods or group bookings so that you can consolidate your orders and make it easier for your staff too.
4. List key varietals higher up the list. Encourage trading up the wine list by choosing the favourite varietals on your menu (Sauvignon Blanc, Malbec) and offering a second, better choice at a higher price point.
5. Focus on visibility. Keep a good range of wines and spirits in eye sight of customers – on the back bar, on the wine list, on the table, and on the blackboard.
6. After dinner drinks are always more popular at this time of year. Don’t forget to match seasonal food and spirits such as dark rums and Christmas pudding or Calvados and apple tart.
7. Gluhwein mit Schuss…Gluhwein is literally Christmas in a drink and a Schuss is a little cheeky shot of something warming, think rum or brandy or Calvados.
8. Staff knowledge and confidence. Make sure they know the special offers for Christmas and that each has a favourite wine or one that they can pronounce and enthuse about with confidence.
9. Don’t hide your back bar behind too much tinsel. “Premium spirits see an uplift of 34% over Christmas [CGA Strategy Brand Index 2011] with 25% of purchases influenced by back-bar displays”.
10. Consumers splash out more frequently so ensure you have a few special bottles on hand to make your establishment something to remember far beyond Christmas season.