Train Servers When to Sell More Wine


When was the last time you trained your servers on how to sell more wine? It’s probably time for a refresher course! Remind waitstaff that wine sales are a great boost to check averages and tips. There are at least five optimal times during a meal to sell more wine — do your servers know them? Here’s a re-cap for your next pre-shift meeting:

  1. During the initial greeting of the table. “Can I start you off with a cocktail or a bottle of wine?” Then, mention specials, specialty wines or personal favorites.
  2. When the entrée order is taken. Make sure servers are well-schooled in how to pair wines with specific entrée items.
  3. In the period between soup and salad and serving the main course. This is a good time for a refill or to see if customers would like a glass with their meal.
  4. When the entrées are delivered.
  5. After-dinner. Many chocolate desserts go great with red wines and some white wines are desserts in themselves.

Wine to go? Many states have laws that allow patrons to take home their open bottles of wine. That’s good for everyone: the guest (who won’t now feel pressured to finish the wine so it doesn’t go to “waste”) and operations (there’s really no reason not to get a bottle if you’re enjoying the wine). If your state allows to-go wine, make sure your servers are trained to mention this benefit during their wine sales dialogue.

Restaurant Service and Sales Training

The Service & Sales Excellence Waitstaff Training Series is based on Service That Sells!, a restaurant training philosophy developed by restaurant owners for restaurant owners. Click here to learn more.

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