When it comes to wine, perhaps Ernest Hemingway put it best when penning: “Wine is one of the most civilized things in the world and one of the most natural things of the world that has been brought to the greatest perfection, and it offers a greater range for enjoyment and appreciation than, possibly, any other purely sensory thing.” Some companies hope to elevate the range of enjoyment and appreciation of wine to enhance the overall guest experience.
Long gone are the days when boxed wine was considered to be a cheesy economic party staple as national restaurant chains and businesses such as Red Robin, Disney and AMC movie theaters now use Beso Del Sol Sangria—a super-premium sangria available in a three-liter boxed format to contribute to their bottom line. Other boxed products used in restaurants include Black Box Wine, served out of the box from Ruby Tuesday to Le Parker Meridien, and Fireball Whisky.
Katie Burkle, Beverage Director for Red Robin, which carries Beso Del Sol in all locations across the country, told Modern Restaurant Management magazine that using the products enhances the guest experience by providing a consistent quality. She added that the longer shelf life is a factor in promoting the consistent nature over a bottled selection.
“The 30-day shelf life and no waste do make it easier for our bar managers,” she said. “It’s very affordable and pairs well with our burgers so a great fit for us and our guests.”
Technology can also come into play when helping to elevate the wine-enjoyment level.
“We believe buying wine at a restaurant should match the advancements in purchasing behavior,” said Joao Reis, CEO of InVine, which replicates a wine list on an iPad while offering more information about the wine to the guest.
Reis started the company with his brother combining their interests in food and technology.
“We started in 2012 back in Portugal, a country with hundreds of years of traditions. We’re both techies and love to cook and go to restaurants. We found we would text wine lists to friends and ask for recommendations and thought there should be a way for people to learn about wine.”
They designed an app to let users “log what they like,” he explained. “We pushed into a business without knowing. We’re not trying to be disruptive, but bring the transposition of a wine list into the digital age.”
The platform was also designed provide data to help restaurant managers save time, make more money, and understand buying habits of their guests. The product is currently in restaurants and hotels such as Four Seasons, the W hotel, Zola, and Rangoon Ruby.
One boutique restaurant with around 100 seats increased their annual beverage revenue by $31,000 or 10%. With the additional cost and time savings less their InVine subscription they ended up with a straight profit of $31,150.
“The wine lists of our three restaurants are now 100 percent InVine digital and we have recovered our investment in just three months,” said Chef Olivier, Owner and Manager of Olivier. “Now that we have analytics from more than 17,000 users, we can also know more about how our patrons navigate our wine list and understand when they are satisfied with their pick.”