Monday, 06 April 2009 14:35
We've been struggling with our (normally healthy) Champagne sales over the past few months. Can you suggest any ways I can boost the turnover on this part of our list?
After a run of amazing years, Champagne sales have now slowed down. This is due, as we all know, to the current economic climate. The big question is: how do you keep your champagne sales up?
Here's a few ideas:
One thing I tend to do myself is to work on cash margins or lower gross profits: while the average gross profit on wine is probably 68% to 70%, aim for around 60% on Champagne. Even though your margins will be smaller, this amount still gives you a good amount of profit because Champagne is not cheap!
Another idea is to introduce small grower Champagnes as these can offer better value for money than bigger brands. Furthermore, it's not unknown for famous brands to be cheaper to buy from the supermarket than from your regular supplier. And, if this is the case, it's very hard to justify to your customers! Not only that, but it's important not forget that you don't want to compete with the big supermarkets and their buying power. Your strength is not the price of the wines, it's your knowledge and your interesting selection.
And think about offering food and Champagne matching. This is a great way to promote Champagne sales by the glass, so match a Champagne with one of the courses on your menu. You'll be surprised by how receptive people are to the idea.
One last thing - remember that the Champenois are very strong on POS (point of sale) support. The marketing departments in Champagne houses are among the sharpest in the wine world, so use that to your advantage.
All these tools that I've mentioned are classic ones, but when times are hard you should use them to keep your champagne sales as high as they were before.
Xavier Rousset is a sommelier and co-owner of London's Texture restaurant, which is well known for its Champagne bar