The restaurant industry is ever changing. These days, an “experience-first” mindset is essential to standing out in the crowd.
“More and more, guests choose to dine at restaurants for the overall experience, not just great food,” says Aaron , assistant professor of food and beverage management at the Cornell SC Johnson College of Business in Ithaca, New York.
To that end, food and wine pairings provide guests with a unique experience that can differentiate an establishment from its competition, Adalja says.
If you’re looking to increase business and separate from the pack, think seriously about trying out such pairings.
Generally, food and wine pairings give chefs and sommeliers the ability to pair dishes and wine together with the intent of enhancing flavor.
But these types of pairings also have a deeper purpose for businesses.
How Food And Wine Pairings Can Increase Business
In addition to differentiating your establishment from competition, pairings offer other business-boosting benefits.
“Wine pairings provide a unique value to guests dining at your establishment, particularly those who may not be comfortable navigating a lengthy wine list but want a tailored experience,” says Adalja.
Pairings, and beverage programs at wine bars generally, allow managers to provide a customized guest experience. Such pairings also mitigate the “risk” that some customers perceive when purchasing a full bottle of wine, Adalja says.
So, while guests may be reluctant to buy a full bottle on its own, they may be more willing to spend on a tailored wine and food experience.
In addition, says Adalja, food and wine pairings can be an effective upsell to guests who might otherwise purchase a single glass of wine.
What A Successful Food And Wine Pairing Looks Like
It’s important to remember that food and wine pairings are subjective, not an exact science. Something that’s divine to one person may be unpleasant to another.
For Adalja, a successful food and wine pairing is one in which each component plays off the other, revealing elements of taste that may not have been apparent in isolation.
Simply put, a great pairing is one in which each bite of food makes the guest want to take a sip of wine, and each sip of wine makes the guest want to take a bit of food, he says.
Marketing Food And Wine Pairings
The process of matching food with wine doesn’t end when you select the right pairings for your restaurant. After you have set up your menu, it’s important to get the marketing, of your wine bar, right.
Adalja offers some general guidelines around marketing for pairings:
- Food and wine pairings should appear front and center on the menu.
- If your establishment features an a la cartemenu, each menu item can include a suggested wine pairing in the description.
- If the establishment uses a prix fixeor tasting menu, wine pairings should be offered in a similar manner for the entire menu.
- Just like with their food menu, it’s important for restaurants to refresh their wine pairing options on a regular basis.
Overall, when done well, wine pairings can distinguish your establishment from others and help increase business. Just remember to take time when choosing your pairings and enjoy the process of trying the pairings before putting them on your menu.