Wine Service 101

1. The bottle is presented to the host. The host is whoever ordered the wine. Pay attention to this — don’t present the bottle to the gentleman if the lady ordered it. Say the wine’s name and vintage, confirming their choice, before opening. 

2. The bottle may be set on the table or a geridon (a French term for a side table), or opened “in the air.” Make this determination based on your style of service and set a policy for consistency. 

3. The server shall have a clean folded cloth napkin in hand. 

4. Cut the capsule cleanly below the second lip, and wipe bottle with napkin. The cut capsule goes into servers’ pocket, and never on the table or in an ice bucket. 

5. Insert the corkscrew, but not dead center, or the opener will spiral down to one side. Look at the top of the cork like the face of a clock and insert it between the center and 1 o’clock (11 o’clock if you are a southpaw). 

“Avoid pulling the cork to one side as it comes up.”

6. Withdraw cork using the action of the opener as a lever. Avoid pulling the cork to one side as it comes up. When the cork can easily be removed, twist the cork with your hand and remove. Avoid popping the cork out. Place cork on table next to host’s glass. 

7. Wipe the bottle top again.

8. Pour 1 to 2 ounces for the host to taste.

9. Upon acceptance, pour clockwise (label facing guest) all women first, and then gentlemen, and then host last (male or female). One 750-ml bottle is 25 ounces, and serves four, with wine left over in the bottle. Do not try to empty on the first pour –it looks pushy. No matter what your glass capacity, serve no more than 4 or 5 ounces. You may have to stretch a bottle for 6, but do not short anyone on that initial pour.

10. Wish the party well by saying “enjoy” and remove the cork, unless they would like to keep it. (Never re-cork the bottle on the table.)



8 Ways to Maximize Wine Sales

1. Speed counts. Once the order is taken (and this goes for cocktail orders, as well), get the bottle to the table as fast as you can.

2. Make the word “wine” slip into every single first approach to a table, whether it’s a single diner or a crowd. Practice this approach on friends and family. “We have several new wines on the list, my favorite is…,” or “I’ll be right back with your cocktails, and I will leave the wine list with you to select something for your dinner.” 

3. Always assume that your guests want wine. It’s only a matter of which one they want. “Would you like a red or a white this evening?” Or how about “…wine for this evening? I love this Sauvignon Blanc with our mussels,” or “the veggie pizza is great with this Zinfandel — would you like to try a bottle?” 

4. Up-sell the two glasses to a bottle. “We offer the wines by the glass by the bottle as well, and they are a great value when you’re both having the same thing — shall I bring a bottle?” 

“Don’t be afraid to be creative.”

5. When emptying a bottle, (always to the host) ask “would you like another bottle of the same or would you like to see the list again?”

6. Don’t spend too much time worrying about what goes with what. Everyone has their own taste, and while there are good choices and great choices, screwing it up entirely is rare. 

7. Be aware of any wines that may be unavailable, so that you may inform the guest at the moment they order it, and suggest an alternative. Again, avoid delays; they cripple your sales.

8. Even if you don’t drink wine, you can sell it. Find some wines with which you are familiar. Selling is storytelling, and remarking to a guest that the owner loves a certain wine or that the winemaker recently visited the restaurant for dinner can sell a bottle. Don’t be afraid to be creative.

More Sysco Tips and Tricks

for Inlander Restaurant Week

Why Speed Scratch Products Can Mean a Better Profit Margin

Restaurant Week is always a hectic time, when your team is stretched in the front and back of house. A nationwide labor shortage and increases in minimum wage and employee benefits this year can add to the pressure, making saving time and labor in the kitchen even more critical to have a successful and profitable Restaurant Week and first quarter.

6 Questions to Ask Yourself When Planning Your Restaurant Week Menu

You can begin uploading your Inlander Restaurant Week menu NOW. To have a super successful event that impacts your bottom line during Inlander Restaurant Week and beyond, Sysco Spokane’s Business Resource Consultant encourages you to ask these six questions.

Farm Fresh Spotlight: Sackmann Cattle Company

The Sackmann’s roots in Eastern Washington run deep, going back over a century. Owners Jeff and Jaime Sackmann both grew up on farming and ranching homesteads settled in the 1900’s. While ranching is in their blood, the Sackmann’s have continued to develop a contemporary, and successful breeding philosophy. Jaime holds a Masters Degree in Animal Science with an emphasis on ruminant nutrition and meat science.

Profit Pitfalls to Avoid During Inlander Restaurant Week

Do’s and don’ts for the 10 most delicious days of the year

Offsetting Rising Labor Costs

With Washington’s minimum raise increasing in January and employee benefits expenses on the rise, restaurants are under more pressure than ever to manage their bottom line. “As restaurants are asking themselves how are they going to manage the increases in labor costs, we’re hearing from a lot of our customers that they don’t want to jack up menu prices,” explains Sysco Business Resource Consultant Ricky Webster. “But how do you do that?” Managing your food cost is a good place to start. Here are three tips from Ricky to keep your food cost in line, and drive profits up.

Farm Fresh Spotlight: Carlton Farms

When you order Carlton Farms pork or beef, you’re ordering quality you can see and taste. What you’re also getting with each order is five decades of experience raising animals naturally and humanely– without hormones, animal proteins or growth accelerants.

A Better Bottom Line

Running a profitable restaurant has never been easy. And it’s not about to get any easier, as new wage and compensation laws kick in for Washington State. So how can your restaurant absorb higher labor costs?

“Keeping a close eye on your food cost is critical,” says Sysco Business Resource Consultant Ricky Webster. In our last Prep for Success newsletter, Ricky offered three tips to keep food costs down through inventory control, goal setting and consistency.

3 Reasons to start creating your Restaurant Week menu right now

We just made it through Thanksgiving. The Christmas season catering madness is about to start. But it is time to start thinking about your Inlander Restaurant Week menu. Here are three reasons to get started now, to make sure you have the most successful Restaurant Week possible.

Farm Fresh Spotlight: The Royal Dairy

While Washington State may better known for its apples than its dairy farms, its milk producers are certainly worth celebrating. Royal Dairy, nestled in the Columbia Basin in Grant County is leading the nation with its commitment to becoming a zero-waste dairy.

Why Powerful Menu Descriptions Mean Profits

As you are putting the finishing touches on your Inlander Restaurant Week menu, make sure you pay as much attention to your written descriptions, as you do to developing the delicious dishes you’ll feature.

Research shows that a restaurant can increase sales by up to 30 percent just by utilizing enticing menu descriptions. Thirty percent! “Powerful descriptions are particularly important during a Restaurant Week promotion, because many diners are actively comparing your menu to other restaurants and selecting eateries solely based on menu offerings,”

Cashing in on Restaurant Week All Year Long

Tips for turning Restaurant Week customers into regulars

Research from Cake, a tech-solution division of Sysco, shows restaurants typically see a revenue boost of about 23 percent during an average Restaurant Week promotion. That can be a nice boost to your first quarter bottom line. Even better — how can you turn those first time customers into loyalists?

We asked Sysco Business Resource Consultant Ricky Webster for his tips for bringing those Inlander Restaurant Week customers back.

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