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On-trade missing out on upselling wine

Published:  11 February, 2011

A quarter of restaurant, hotel and pub operators do not encourage their staff to upsell wines to customers, according to a report from ViVAS.

The research showed that some operators are failing to train staff on how to understand and make recommendations about wine. Pub managers were least likely to invest in training (one third said they did not train staff) while hotel managers were best at training staff (just 3% didn't train).

In addition, less than half of the operators interviewed made any effort to cross-sell wines against food menus.

Henry John, marketing manager at ViVAS said today's consumers are looking for an "entire experience" which operators can deliver by ensuring staff feel comfortable supporting customers with their wine choice. "The average customer is hugely risk averse when it comes to choosing a wine; they're looking for comfort and support to ensure that they don't make the wrong choice. Genuine advice is generally greatly appreciated, as long as it's considered and not simply pushing the most expensive bottle on the list," he added.

ViVAS is a joint venture between Bibendum Wine and foodservice distributor 3663, it offers customers a range of wines which can be delivered on the same truck as their food order. ViVAS interviewed 100 customers from four major categories: hotels, free-trade pubs, restaurants and tenanted pubs to complete this research.