More Than Wine – The Real Contribution of the Sommelier

By Brian Mitchell Principal, Mitchell Performance Systems | April 21, 2013

Co-authored by Evan Mitchell, Senior Consultant, Mitchell Performance Systems

** This is the second article in a series on improving revenue and profits from F&B

People tend to defer to wine expertise. And by no means merely wine novices. On any evening, in any fine dining restaurant, anywhere in the world, you’ll find seasoned diners seeking reassurance of their wine selection through the approval of that arbiter of taste – the sommelier.

According to The Oxford Companion to Wine, the sommelier’s role is “to ensure that any wine ordered is served correctly and, ideally, to advise on the individual characteristics of every wine on the establishment’s list and on food and wine matching.” There’s more than a hint here of the popular caricature of the sommelier – an imperious figure of vast snootiness pontificating on the intricacies of wine with an air of the grandest condescension, while shamelessly picking our pocket.

A misrepresentation? Absolutely. But then the role of sommelier lends itself to much misinterpretation – and even more under-appreciation. Not having a clear fix on what the role really involves will prove immensely costly to an establishment.

There’s a vast difference between a sommelier performing to the fullness of the job, and just playing the wine expert. And the impact on revenue can be just as large. Each layer of the job brings in additional opportunities, which are there to be taken but are too often lost. So join us while we analyze the sommelier role and what it should contribute. The findings may surprise.

Coming up in January 2018...

Mobile Technology: Relentless Innovation

Technology has become a crucial component in attracting and retaining hotel guests, and the need to enhance a guest’s technology experience is driving a relentless pace of innovation. To meet and exceed guest expectations, 54% of hotels will spend more on technology in 2018, and mobile solutions in particular will top the list of capital investments. Many hotels are integrating mobile booking, mobile keys, mobile payments and mobile check-in into their operations. Other hotels are emphasizing the in-room experience, boosting bandwidth and upgrading flat screen TVs to more easily interface with guest mobile devices. And though not yet mainstream, there are many exciting technology developments on the near horizon. The Internet of Things (loT) is taking form in some places, and can be found in guest room control systems, voice activation systems, and in wearable sensors that can be used for access and payment options. Virtual reality headsets are available at some hotels so guests can enjoy virtual trips to exotic locations or if off-property, preview conference facilities and guest rooms. How long will it be before a hotel employs a fleet of robots for room service, or utilizes a hologram as a concierge, or installs gesture-controlled walls that feature interactive digital displays? Some hotels are already using augmented reality for translation services, or interactive wall maps, or even virtual décor. This pace of innovation is challenging property owners and brands to stay on top of the latest technology trends while still addressing current projects. The January Hotel Business Review will explore what some hotels are doing to maximize their opportunities in the mobile technology space.