Fear of Wine? It Happens.


Customers who missed out on holiday dining last year are ready to celebrate this year — but is your restaurant ready for them? For servers with the right training, bottles of wine are an easy upsell for guests already ordering wine, and champagne nearly sells itself during a holiday party. Some servers may hesitate to sell wine and champagne simply because they’re afraid of opening the bottle in front of guests. Prepare your staff before the holiday rush starts by working these helpful hints into your restaurant training program and practicing during pre-shift team meetings.

  • Place the tip of the corkscrew slightly off-center and this will help prevent the corkscrew from veering off to the side and breaking the cork through a tear in the side.
  • If the lip of the bottle breaks before you have the cork out, stop trying to extract it, back the cork out and get a new bottle.
  • Some corks are extremely hard to get out of the bottle. Instead of struggling at the table, excuse yourself, go to the back and run warm water just over the neck of the bottle where the cork is and this will loosen the coating surrounding the cork so that it can be removed easily.

Overcoming the Fear of Failure

Wine isn’t the only item on your menu servers may be avoiding. Sometimes, servers have a general fear of suggestive selling simply because they don’t want to hear the guest say “no.” This fear of failure is what often stops our servers from asking for add-on sales or going out of their way to be deliver a truly exceptional dining experience. It’s your job as manager to use your restaurant training program to help ease servers’ minds about the fear of selling. Here are some ways you can encourage yourself and your team to let go of fear of failure:

  • Take a chance. When you have a well-researched plan, worrying that it might fail stalls the process for success. Let go of fear and encourage your team to speak up and try something new. Even if the idea fails, you’ll all be closer to a new solution.
  • Train, train, train. Nothing squelches fear more than confidence. Make sure your training programs teach product knowledge and sales strategies that are easy to implement on the floor.
  • Be positive. Use pre-shift team meetings and training sessions to express a positive attitude to your staff. Your positive thinking will be contagious, and it won’t take long for it to spread throughout your staff.
  • Become a coach. Do you demand perfection? If you do, your team members will start to play it safe. They’ll stop coming up with new ideas for improving your operation and they’ll stick to the way it’s always been done. And in this ever-changing hospitality world, that’s a good way to guarantee long-term failure.

Online Restaurant Training

Need help training your servers to sell? Our Service & Sales Excellence Waitstaff Training Series is based on the Service That Sells!, a restaurant training philosophy developed by restaurant owners for restaurant owners. Watch the video below or click here to learn more.

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