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Shortage of workers? Let your digital wine list sells your wines

Vins penurie serveurs carte iPad

At a time when restaurants are finally reopening globally, the problem of available workers arises.
As a recent article from a French newspaper indicates:

Several thousand restaurant employees in Toulouse, France, have reportedly decided to turn their backs on the profession, which has been decimated by health restrictions. The Chamber of Commerce and restaurant owners are anticipating a very tense recovery, when they reopen.

In this article, we provide several answers to the workers shortage, as well as other benefits of our digital wine list solution.

Save time by updating your wine list in seconds

A wine list evolves according to the season, the dishes prepared by the kitchen, the market and the selections/preferences of the sommelier/cellar manager. The constant updating of the wine list is time-consuming and takes up staff time that would be better spent on customers. In addition, the paper format does not allow for easy updating of the wine list. The result is that most establishments sooner or later find themselves with an outdated wine list and errors such as:

  • incorrect vintage year
  • several domains no longer in stock
  • references and magnums, jeroboams or even in classic format out of stock

These errors result in customer frustration and a degraded service. Indeed, nothing is more frustrating for a customer than to see the sommelier or waiter come back to him/her and announce that the reference ordered is no longer in stock.

In contrast, a wine list on a tablet such as an iPad allows you to offer an always up-to-date wine list to your customers. Indeed, adding/removing a wine from the list only takes a few seconds.
At COENA, we noticed a significant change in the behavior of our restaurant customers over the years since they switched to a digital wine list. With a paper wine list, these restaurants used to update their list 2-3 times a year. These updates were time consuming and represented a significant printing cost. After switching to a digital wine list, the same restaurants typically update their wine list 2-3 times a month.

Editing wine information details on iPad

A digital wine list SELLS your wines

At COENA, we have always been surprised to see one of the noblest products, which triggers the most passionate discussions between customers and restaurateurs, and which represents the highest margins of a restaurant, being presented as a printed line in a book of several dozen pages. It is impossible to highlight a certain domain, or a vintage. The majority of customers miss out on great references and base their choice on the price.

The work of the sommelier is therefore particularly important. Indeed, without him, this static and classic list does not sell much.
Only connoisseurs will be able to take the time to dissect such a list.

With a wine list on iPad, the content is adapted to the customer’s profile. The connoisseur will quickly find his or her favorite references by navigating the list by color and region. A novice will be guided by the sommelier’s selection (updated daily), a tasting profile (tannic and full-bodied red) or even a food/wine pairing.

The wine list on iPad offers a much more interactive and enriching cellar discovery experience than a cellar book, and can be very useful when the sommelier is absent from the room or when manpower is limited.

Our clients see an average of 10-20% increase in wine sales with their digital wine list.


COVID19: distrust of the paper format as a vector of virus transmission

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced many restaurants to go paperless. Several studies have shown that the virus can survive on a paper
surface for several hours, which has caused many restaurant patrons to be concerned and has resulted in an order and recommendation from
from the public services to stop using a paper format for the wine lists.
Indeed, a wine list is passed from one table to another during the entire service and therefore risks transmitting the virus to all the guests of the restaurant.

Many owners of restaurants had to adapt and give up the paper format. The wine list was replaced by an ardoise, or in some establishments, by the waiter reciting the list of dishes and menus from memory. The majority have reduced the choice of the menu.

The subject of the wine list is much more complex: indeed, a restaurant typically proposes between 200-400 wines on the list, some establishments
propose even 1200-2000 wines (it is the case of our customers Le Gavroche in London, Flocons de Sel in Megève or Le Cantou in Toulouse).  The Ardoise format is no longer appropriate, since it can only propose a limited list of the menu.

Logically, restaurants wishing to continue to offer a beautiful wine list have turned to a digital support such as a digital wine menu. This format allows
to present the entire wine list (as well as the food list) on a format that can be easily cleaned and disinfected. Other establishments have turned to QR-Code solutions.

Covid19 iPad carte restaurant

The Digitalisation of your wine list does not mean giving up its authenticity

One of the fears or inhibitions that frequently comes up in our conversations with restaurant owners is the loss of authenticity associated with the move to a digital menu. This fear is not limited to the restaurant industry: technology tends to divide between the (often passionate) technology enthusiasts and the more traditional people who see technology as an enemy of authenticity, a symbol of the isolation of our society, or a risk to jobs.

Our answer has remained the same over the last five years, and has become even more relevant in 2021: technology is useless if it does not work hands in hands with people, does not integrate/improve working methods and does not improve the customer experience. Digital is not an end in itself: service will always be critical in a restaurant. Every restaurant owner knows this. Digitizing your wine list means allowing your customers to better browse and understand your wine list. It means avoiding to offer wines that are not in stock. It is to offer a different and unique experience of exploring a wine cellar.

Finally, digitizing a wine list does not mean taking away its soul: some solutions on the market tend to transform a wine list into a “photo catalog”, with large photos taking up most of the screen space, and a design stolen from the latest trends in website design (large colored blocks, animations…) or MacDonald’s kiosks. At COENA, we made the bet, as soon as we put our first wine list on iPad into production, to keep the authenticity of a wine list and let the technology fade away like magic in the background. That’s why our design is highly customizable according to the establishment’s graphic charter, and why the display of wines varies according to the number of wines on the list:

Try for free our wine list on iPad

If this article has made you want to try a wine list on iPad, we offer a free demo version if you own an iPad.

Otherwise, we would be happy to run you through a demo of our product via Zoom and answer all your questions.
Just leave us your contact information in the form below: