Spend More Time on Wine Regardless of Your Venue’s Focus

2016

Photographer: Dennis Wilkinson

Truly, every product offered on your menu, both food and beverage, should be vetted through an analytical process that will support your concept. Most Nightclub & Bar Show attendees have a solid grasp of spirits, how to use select brands that fit their needs, and how to compose cocktails that help define their bar. Beer and wine tend to be less loved in the nightclub and cocktail bar environment, although a few local craft beer selections can easily be found and implemented with very little risk of diluting concept or disappointing beer drinkers. Wine is not that easy.

When you offer wine, you are entering a vast world of not only producers, but also other factors that affect the price and quality of the wine like vintages, farming methods, and even cost of land. Local can be a good thing in wine, but often it is not, depending on location.

Should you just go with the simple, recognized brand from your largest vendor? Probably not and here’s why:

  • A brand like this is counting on the fact that you will do this, and a lot of that will be to pay for marketing and other non-quality-affecting aspects of big business. You want to maximize wine quality, regardless of the price point. As an operator we all share an obligation to make our guests feel like they receive value for their experience, and marking up something they see in the grocery store will not help.
  • The customer’s opinion about your establishment is rarely entirely their own. People create collective opinions about bars and restaurants. There lies both opportunity and threat here. If your cocktail program is amazing and guests come to try them, don’t let the non-cocktail people within those groups go without seizing the opportunity to build future business with them as well. Menu items that do nothing to enhance the guest experience or their perception of value represent a loss in marketing potential.
  • Big brands offer, primarily, consistency in product. They also offer a neutral drinking experience as your guest will most likely walk out the door with little or no opinion about your beverage program. This is not good. You want all of your guests reflecting positively about their experience in your establishment. Sure, they might remember the cocktails, décor, and the go-go dancer but why stop short of 100 percent?

By investing a little extra time, you can find wine that fits your needs exactly. The wine world is vast, so get in contact with multiple wine vendors, and give them specific direction. Know your mark-up, who your guests are, and then give your vendor guidelines for what they should show you. If you are running a rock bar and don’t want to spend over $6 per bottle, ask your vendor for a wine that compliments your concept and target demographic, offers great value for money, and doesn’t exceed your price. Compare your options and make an informed decision that will be a win-win.

You'll have the opportunity to learn from Jeff Josenhans and other industry experts at the 2016 Nightclub & Bar Convention and Trade Show. Use code SAVE30BARNEWS when registering to receive $30 off any show pass!