Spiking Sake SalesMarch 1, 2009 By: Nightclub and Bar Night Club and Bar Magazine
"The Sushi & Sake Sessions promotion was really born from our original promotion of a kids’ sushi school,” says Charles Govan, the director of food and beverage outlets for the Loews Lake Las Vegas Resort. “We thought offering classes for our adults to learn about sushi and sake from our master chef Osamu ‘Fuji’ Fujita would be a great way to introduce them to something unfamiliar.”
Sake is definitely in the midst of a growth spurt on-premise, but most consumers are still unsure of what brands to order. Loews’ Marssa restaurant holds the adult sushi and sake classes the second Saturday of every month, dividing the session time between discussing and rolling sushi with Fujita and meeting in a separate room to taste sakes with a sake master.
“We have them taste from a lower end to a higher end set of sakes, just like someone would with wine education,” Govan says. “I think these classes are definitely getting people inside the restaurant to experience what quality means in these realms, and to enjoy what we have to offer. We are looking at extending the class to cover making Saketini cocktails later on, but for now we leave it up to the sake master to pick four sakes off our extensive list to taste.”
Each class is priced at $50 per person, and guests leave with a gift bag containing an apron, a cookbook on sushi and sake, chopsticks and coupons for return visits to the restaurant.
The first session — on Valentine’s Day — brought 20 guests. Govan explains that Marssa likes to limit the class to 20 to preserve the one-on-one nature of Fujita’s instruction.
“We have seen an increase of our customer base with guests who have had their children attend Sushiskool for kids in the summer,” he says. “We hope to continue to achieve the same results from our adult version.”