11 Year-Old Restaurant in Shanghai has more than 1000 Wines
There are many wine-themed restaurants in the first- and second-tier cities. However, since the wine is not a high-frequency consumer product, wine-themed restaurants may not as popular as expected. Especially private consumptions take the majority at present; thus many wine restaurants are closed. However, there are also some wine restaurants have survivedand are doing well.
What did these restaurants do? Recently, WBO learned about a wine restaurant in Shanghai that has been there for 11 years. The management team of this restaurant introduced some of their strategies to WBO, some of which are useful for reference.
Rule 1: Professional + Abundant Choices
First of all, due to the nature of the wine, a wine restaurant is always positioned for high-end classes and it is important to understand that the customers have some requests. Therefore, to be professional is crucial.
Napa Wine Cellar in Shanghai is extremely professional in wine selection and staff recruitment. According to the management team of the restaurant，the wines are not purchased from unreliable sources, but from well-known wine merchants. The wine source is investigated before purchasing. Bordeaux wines are all from famous Bordeaux wine merchants which are not moved in the cellars. In addition, the refrigerated transportation is required.
Wine selection is in a large range. Napa has more than 1,000 wines on the wine list and up to 18,000 bottles in the cellar. Different wines are listed by countries, regions, vineyards and vintages. For example, the restaurant has a selection of more than 10 different vintages of Bordeaux's famous wine Chateau Latour.Customers can try something differentif they want during every visit.
Because fine wine is the standard, at present, upper class customers mainly drink famous wines. However, some rare burgundy wines priced up to thousands of CNY are also needed. Yet at the same time, the restaurant also needs some mid-priced and 100 yuan's entry level wine; Someniche organic and natural wines should be in the list as well.
The restaurant's founder, Philippe Huser, graduated from the Lausanne School of Tourism in Switzerland. He said:"Although it is a high-end restaurant on the Bund, only 50% of the customers who drink wines of over 1000 yuan, another 50% drink wines priced several hundred. Therefore, each bottle of wine needs to be carefully selected in every price range to let customers feel the profession.
Rule 2: Abandon High Mark-Up; Some Products are directly Purchased
According to Philip, Napa Wine Cellar hopes to create an atmosphere that “children walk into the candy house” for wine lovers.
Because of this, Napa Wine Cellar's wine menu has been awarded in the Wine Spectator every year since 2009.
It should be noted that the profession does not equal to high price. As wine restaurants are now more and more competitive, high-end customers have chances to compare the prices. Based on this, Napa Wine Cellarhas its own import company to import wines directly and the final price is 20-30% mark up the cost.
Philip pointed out that a reasonable mark-up is very important. People who love to drink mostly know the price of all kinds of wine, especially the famous wines. If the markup rate is double or triple, unless it is business consumption, the wines are too expensive to drink. On the contrary, if the markup rate is not high, the customer will feel valuable and will come back again.
Rule 3: Attracting strange customers to try and buy back
Even in a city with relatively matured wine market such as Shanghai, many consumers are not as professional as imagined. Some people come to Napa Wine Cellar just because one TV series took scenes there.
How to cultivate loyal customer who does not know much about wine? Service would be crucial.
First of all, the chefs from Napa Wine Cellar are interested in wine, so they can cooperate with the sommelier to provide excellent wine and food pairing experience.
Secondly, when the waiters are introducing the food menu, they emphasis on the perfect pairing of western food with a glass of red wine, in order to stimulate the desire of the diners who are not familiar with the wine. In fact, many people have not experienced the beauty of food and wine pairing.
Philip introduced: “In general, we will ask customers what type of wine they usually drink, and then find a direction. After all, everyone has different tastes. It is extremely important to seize their usual tastes. For example, you can ask customers if he/she prefers a high acidity, medium, slightly sweet wine, a fruity wine or a more tannic wine.
For those who do not know much about wine, the restaurant has a wine tasting set menu, with five courses each paired with half a glass of wine. By experiencing different wine pairings, customers will have experience enjoying different food and wines. The experience is training consumers’ palate, and eventually to confirm their preferences.
In order to ensure the freshness of old customers, the restaurant needs to change menus in every stage. Napa Wine Cellar changes menus every three month. There are many seasonal ingredients.The plating need to be constantly changing. Even the wines in the set menu need to be replaced from time to time.
Napa Wine Celler is attracting more and more consumers through word-of-mouth communication in the fiercely competitive market in Shanghai. It not only insists on constant business operation, but also not relies on other investment to maintain profitability. As mentioned above, wine is a low frequency and high priced consumer product. Such good results is related to being professional, reasonably priced, and meticulous service. These three laws seem to be simple, but it is not easy to do well.