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Suppliers see benefits in increasing services to on-trade

Published:  10 August, 2012

Suppliers have to work harder to increase services to pubs restaurants in these cash-strapped times, but rather than being viewed as a hinderance, it is seen as an all-round benefit.

Suppliers may have to work harder on their services to get attention of restaurants in these cash-strapped times, but rather than being viewed as a hinderance, it is seen as an all round benefit.

John Charnock, managing director of on-trade wine merchants Jascots, said most pubs, restaurants and caterers think food first, so it's about time wine merchants "wised up" to the opportunities it presents.

Charnock said many establishments are being forced to dispense with their sommeliers altogether and it's time help clients engage their guests through relating their wines to food.

Jascots has been providing a food and wine-matching service since May 2011, after bringing in consultant chef Deborah Wallen to advise of food and wine pairing.

Its aim is to help clients understand the importance of matching the right wine with food, and how this can boost enjoyment of a meal and ultimately help to sell more wine.

Richard Cochrane, Bibendum trading director, said its philosophy is the "hard work starts, rather than finishes, when the bottles are delivered".

"Success for both parties lies in forming true partnerships with customers, understanding what makes their businesses tick, and what skills and services they need to sell wine more successfully.

"On-trade customers are definitely looking for more support from us and rightly so, as we have a lot to offer to help them sell more (and better) wine and increase their profits."

Cochrane says Bibendum takes a wide-ranging approach that includes utilising its industry-leading market insights to help on-trade customers understand their target demographic's tastes and behaviour, emphasising innovative approaches to staff training, and showcasing the skills and capabilities of its marketing and design teams, which are aimed at delivering tangible results to its customers' bottom line.

Toby DeHaan, co-director of Bristol's Heritage Wine, agrees it's a "must" in the current climate and everyone is doing everything they possibly can to help each other out.

"We are becoming involved in a lot more food and wine pairing, and are promoting it as an add-on service. We are also providing other services such as deliveries at short notice. But it shouldn't be seen as a problem, as it benefits all parties."