Breaking Consumer's habits with House Wine

House wine

“A glass of house red, please.” Six very familiar words to everyone in our industry, but all too often every time we sell a glass of house wine we are missing out on an opportunity to upsell the customer to something that is more profitable for us and more exciting for them.

With the ever-rising prices of transport and dry goods and the addition of unfavourable exchange rates, the cost of entry-level wines has never been higher and many have never been worse value for money. Spend a pound or two more on a bottle and the quality of the juice inside jumps an incredible amount.

This is our challenge as an industry: to break many consumers’ habits of a lifetime and stop the default ordering of that glass of cheap, poor value house wine.

How can we do it?

Let’s stop automatically making the cheapest wines on the list the ‘house’ wines and flagging them up for customers to find easily.

Instead choose real ‘house’ wines – vins de la maison – wines that reflect our tastes and passions. Wines that we think offer real bang per buck.

Research shows that consumers react very positively to a personal recommendation and what better way to do it than flagging up true favourites as the ‘house’ wines?

These wines should not be the cheapest on the list but if we choose wines that have good cash margins (better than most current house wines), that we are excited about selling and really believe in, then the result will be a better customer experience and more money in the till. It will increase average spend and encourage more experimentation up the wine list as consumers begin to trust the selection.

Happier customers who are spending more are the holy grail of the hospitality industry. Let’s throw away the old idea of house wine and be proud to put a glass of red in front of people and say, “Drink this. I love it and I think you will too.”

How well do you know wine?
John Graves
19th November 2013

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