QUARTER III THE WINE BUSINESS | TEXAS
Developing the Off-Menu Sales Opportunity for On-Premise Accounts by Ryan Fussell, Sales
July 19 | Fort Worth
Pictured: Bar Bites Event with Cannon Chinese- featured
Marc Hebrard Brut Reserve and Charles Armand Brut in
a French 75 cocktail
Every day we call on restaurants, bars, country clubs and specialty venues. We look through the lists of what is being offered. Maybe something jumps out to you and you can see the new incentive in place that is a perfect fit. There might be a need for one of our core focus items, or one of your go-tos and the anticipation starts to grow. But what about those bottles that just don't fit but you really want to find them a home, pick up some extra sales, or just know that someone else thought as highly of them as yourself?
I've been working a project in Fort Worth that has really begun to take shape, and while its kind of a unique concept, it actually works. I call it the "non-list". We've all met that buyer that likes something a lot but just can't put it on their menu, or the chef that is inspired by something, but doesn't have the room or means to make that dish a full time offering. This concept is for those people. Lots of locations offer the limited time only or featured pour menu or so on- but that's still a placement that everyone can see and go after.
Recently, I've worked with two locations on items for a program of offering drinks and food paired together. For $25, they get three taster pours of wine, cocktail, or in some events, local beers. With those offerings, the chef prepares three tapas sized courses. Its never enough food to fill diners up, so they inevitably stay to order additional food & drink. These events happen just once a month and on a day the restaurant would generally be slow- such as Tuesday/Wednesday. The success so far has been unprecedented! One restaurant is selling out event to event at 70 guests at a time and is spilling the event concept over to their sister properties.
Having developed the concept and assisting the restaurants in planning, I get the lion's share each event- never the beer, but I build cocktails with our spirits, bitters, sparkling wines, and cocktail mixers, as well as pairing a wine (usually between $25-35 their cost). They generally only need 6 bottles to fulfill the event, and guests usually buy several bottles when sitting for full dinner after. Anything leftover gets featured in the restaurant until exhausted, and sometimes, they keep them on because of their overall success.
The whole idea is that by planning an event for them that they have to put minimum effort into to get a great result, I target a sales category that doesn't currently exist and isn't dependent upon beating out the other competition... because there isn't any. With the growth to other restaurants within the company, I've also got those placements wrapped up and now am generating multiple spirit and case wine sales that aren't reliant upon fitting any menu in particular. Its not a ton, but it generates about another $425/mo per location that I can implement this in. I show up for an hour for the event, speak briefly on the offering and answer questions, and usually get a free bite or two.
Persistence Pays Off: