Avoiding Wine Program Mistakes and Finding Your Way to Profit
Many consumers complain that restaurant wine prices are too high. Meanwhile, the chances of a restaurant being a successful business venture are slim. Nationally, roughly half of all restaurants fail within the first year and 70% fail within 5 years. In fact, the average net profit for white tablecloth restaurants is under 4% and only rock stars break the 10% barrier. Most of us are in the world of food and wine out of passion and the sense of fulfillment we get by making our customers happy. It sure would be nice to keep our dreams alive and keep our paycheck, and those of our employees, vendors and investors coming.
Undercapitalization is the primary reason for restaurants failing within the first year. But it’s not as simple as that. Creating realistic budgets and long-term projections to determine how much money to raise and what rent you can afford is the starting point. Sticking to those budgets and managing for profit is also key. Many restaurant managers and wine directors got their jobs due to their knowledge of food and wine and passion for service, but budgeting, pricing and inventory control are not emphasized enough. If they are over budget on beverage costs they just raise the prices instead of looking for product loss or other problems. And customers feel the squeeze. Unhappy customers lead to declining cover counts, which is a slippery slope.
Make your wine program both passionate and profitable. San Francisco Wine School’s Wine Program Management
course covers marketing, staff training, customer service, beverage law, vendor relations and more. Students learn to set wine program budgets, price their product in order to hit budget and manage their inventory looking for all forms of shrinkage (spills, breakage, spoilage, theft, over-pouring and unrecorded comps). The Court of Master Sommeliers has recognized these as an area of weakness for many sommeliers and has increasingly tested on the business of wine in the last several years. More importantly, the return on investment in the program can improve your bottom line and even save a struggling business. Learn more and register for the full program
or individual workshops
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Roberto’s lifetime of experience has captured the notice of many critics and fans alike. In 2006, the Italian Sommelier Association declared Roberto the “best Italian winemaker.” In 2009, ‘Wine & Spirits’ magazine declared Roberto’s winemaking project in Argentina the “best winery in the world”. In 2013, ‘Wine & Spirits’ similarly declared their Malbec the “best Malbec in the world.”
Paul Carayas is a Certified Sommelier and currently leading the wine Team at Chez TJ in Mountain View and a 2022 competitor in San Francisco Wine School's 2022 Somm Olympics, part of their annual Anniversary Celebration benefitting the Glancy Wine Education Foundation.
Lindsey Young is an Advanced Sommelier currently leading the wine team at Selby's Restaurant in Atherton and a 2022 competitor in San Francisco Wine School's 2022 Somm Olympics, part of their annual Anniversary Celebration benefitting the Glancy Wine Education Foundation and wine industry professionals in need of financial aid. Read more about Lindsey...