Fleming's Sets Wine Standards
Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar prides itself in offering the most extensive list of wines by the glass of any national chain restaurant company. Winner of the 2015 VIBE Vista Award for best chain restaurant wine program, the program's centerpiece is the Fleming’s 100, available at all 66 locations offering guests a selection of 100 wines by the glass, including 30 wines under $10. Each year, Maeve Pesquera, Fleming’s national director of wine, takes on a 12-month tasting process to keep the wine list fresh, collaborating with international wineries and including limited allocation boutique wineries. Pesquera also collaborates with wine managers at each Fleming’s location to add local selections.
Wines from the Fleming’s 100 are offered several ways: by the glass, as part of a flight, with a "Big Pour" or by the bottle. Guests can select three of the 100 to create their customized flight, with each selection is served in two-ounce pours and priced at one-third of the regular menu price. The Fleming’s Big Pour allows guests to savor a glass and a half of any Fleming’s 100 wine. Pesquera works side-by-side with a different winemaker each year to create a custom blend and release a private-label wine, the Forty-Six Diamonds, available exclusively at all 66 Fleming’s locations. This year’s Forty-Six Diamonds was a partnership with the Stotesbery family of Ladera Vineyards from Napa’s Howell Mountain region, which is known for its Estate Hillside Cabernet Sauvignon.
Then there's the Fleming's WiNEPAD, an intuitive custom iPad app that allows guests to navigate the extensive wine list and enhances the dining experience by facilitating conversation between the server and guest. While the WiNEPAD contains a traditional wine list organized by the varietal and region, guests also have the ability to use other fun search options to select their wine, say by mood or food pairing.
Fleming’s also recently created a series of videos called “Wine Moments,” featuring Pesquera discussing their wine program, the process for selecting the F100 & Forty-Six Diamonds and fearless wine tasting, among other topics. And the chain developed an extensive, proprietary internal training program that is focused on its associates' professional development and growth, and has become the corporate partner of the Society of Wine Educators.
To support training, each of Fleming’s winery partners are asked to create short videos and talk about the wine for associates. Fleming’s also developed a proprietary three-level wine education program for wine managers to broaden their knowledge of varietals and wine growing regions.
The results? For the last five years, Fleming’s has enjoyed record sales and profitability and gained share within its peer group through ongoing innovation, a focus on quality and guest engagement.