Cornell Study Sheds Light on Factors Impacting Wine Sales in Restaurants

wine sales, restaurant menus, cornell center, hospitality research, increase restaurant wine sales, build wine sales, optimize wine in restaurant channel, wine marketing, increase wine distribution The recently published a that evaluated more than thirty attributes of restaurant menus and their impact on wine sales in nearly 300 restaurants. The study identified only a few factors that were positively correlated with higher wine sales. Restaurants that sold more wine included the wine lists in their food menus, did not put dollar signs on the wine prices, had a “reserve” section, and offered multiple wines from the popular wineries on the menu. In more casual restaurants, a large selection, approximately 150 wines including low cost wines, improved wine sales as well. The full study is available on line: click on one of the links at the beginning of this paragraph to view it.

The study noted that metropolitan area, liquor sales volume (a proxy for total sales volume), and cuisine type accounted for more than half of the variation observed in wine sales. The average Chicago and Miami restaurant in the study sold approximately twice as much wine as the California and Las Vegas restaurants. Surprisingly, the New York metropolitan area restaurants in the study averaged half the wine sales of those in California and a quarter of the wine sales of those in Chicago or Miami. Steak houses, seafood restaurants, and American restaurants sold approximately 25% more wine than Italian and French restaurants. Asian restaurants sold only a third of the wine sold in the average steak house in the survey.

These results have significant implications for wineries. Most important, wineries can use these results to target their sales efforts towards restaurants that sell the most wine. This will make the sales process more efficient. Wineries can also evaluate the effectiveness of the restaurant menu in selling wine, based on the results of the survey. Additionally, wineries can use this information to evaluate the effectiveness of their broker and distributor partners, as well as their direct sales force.

Using this type of information effectively can help wineries succeed in today’s challenging economic environment. With the growth of the internet, a tremendous volume of information is available at no cost to wineries that know how to find and separate relevant data from irrelevant information. The wineries that survive and ultimately thrive will successfully create small advantages in their business strategy using this type of information and then execute relentlessly and with discipline against their strategies. These wineries will be positioned to maximize their sales and profits when the business climate improves.

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