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 March 2018...

Human Resources: Value Creation

Businesses must evolve to stay competitive and this is also true of employment positions within those organizations. In the hotel industry, for example, the role that HR professionals perform continues to broaden and expand. Today, they are generally responsible for five key areas - government compliance; payroll and benefits; employee acquisition and retention; training and development; and organizational structure and culture. In this enlarged capacity, HR professionals are no longer seen as part of an administrative cost center, but rather as a member of the leadership team that creates strategic value within their organization. HR professionals help to define company policies and plans; enact and enforce systems of accountability; and utilize definable metrics to measure and justify outcomes. Of course, there are always new issues for HR professionals to address. Though seemingly safe for the moment, will the Affordable Care Act ultimately be repealed and replaced and, if so, what will the ramifications be? There are issues pertaining to Millennials in the workforce and women in leadership roles, as well as determining the appropriate use of social media within the organization. There are new onboarding processes and e-learning training platforms to evaluate, in addition to keeping abreast of political issues like the minimum wage hike movement, or the re-evaluation of overtime rules. Finally, there are genuine immigration and deportation issues that affect HR professionals, especially if they are located in Dreamer Cities, or employ a workforce that could be adversely impacted by federal government policies. The March Hotel Business Review will take a look at some of the issues, strategies and techniques that HR professionals are employing to create and sustain value in their organization.