how to pair wine with desserts

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After-dinner drinks are great ways to bump up bar profits, but what about the guest who says, “I don’t do the hard stuff” and turns down the Irish coffees and Grasshoppers? Train your waitstaff how to suggest wine with desserts by pairing them well. An effective restaurant training program that includes role-playing on how to pair wine with desserts will increase sales, improve service, and earn servers more tips. Check it out:

Server: Our specialty dessert tonight is a six-layer chocolate cake with mocha filling and fudge icing. Can I bring you a couple?

Guest: I’ll try it with some coffee.

Server: Great! We also have a wonderful, dry Cabernet that goes perfectly with chocolate and coffee. Would you like try a glass?

Guest: OK!

Server, to guest: Can I bring you a dessert?

Guest: The cake’s too much for me. Thanks, anyway.

Server: How about some fresh fruit and some sparkling wine? It tastes great together, especially with our fresh strawberries. It’s light and sweet and a perfect finish!

Guest: Sounds perfect!

Role-playing is a great way to make sure the product knowledge and sales techniques you covered in your training sessions make their way into practice during a real shift.

Wine Marketing Ideas

When you train servers to pair wine with desserts, you’ll sell more wine than you do to guests who just order wine with dinner. As managers, there’s a lot you can do to increase wine sales in your restaurant. Here are a few ideas:

  • Implement a “Pre-sell” policy on bottles of wine or champagne. When guests call to make a reservation, train your staff to say something like, “You’d like to make a reservation for 10 for your company party? Great! Would you like a bottle of champagne chilling for you at your table when you arrive?”
  • Make sure your bartenders and servers have good sales props, such as wine lists, menus, and table tents. Train hosts and hostesses to point out wine and champagne selections on the menu as they seat every guest with dialogue such as “We have a great variety of wine. Our featured selection this evening is the Cabernet Sauvignon.”