Bubbling Over: Train Servers to Sell More Champagne


There’s no wrong time to sell wine and champagne, and there’s no better time than the holiday season. Historically, the majority of U.S. wine and champagne sales are made during the winter holiday season. But if you wait until the busy season to train your waitstaff on wine and champagne sales, you might just miss out. Jump-start your sales today with these waitstaff training ideas:

  • Train your staff to plant the seed for wine and champagne sales when taking reservations during the holiday season. Once the host or server confirms the reservation, he or she can simply say, “We’re looking forward to seeing you, Mr. Smith. Would you like a chilled bottle of chardonnay or champagne waiting at your table when you arrive?”
  • If you have an online reservations system, modify your confirmation auto-reply message to remind guests about your holiday specials, particularly wine and champagne by the bottle. Even better, include a drop-down option list in your reservation form that allows customers to select their drink preferences ahead of time.
  • Make bottles and glassware displays part of your holiday décor. Include champagne glasses in table settings.
  • Hold a refresher training course on how to open and serve wine and champagne. Even your top-selling servers may be unsure of themselves, but practicing on “dummy” bottles (available from your vendors) will ease their anxiety. Also make sure all servers have their own bottle openers.

Train on Responsible Alcohol Sales

When sales of wine and champagne go up, so does the need for responsible alcohol sales training. Make sure your servers and bartenders understand their legal responsibility to prevent underage alcohol sales by checking ID and refusing sales when necessary. Remember, if you fail to train your employees properly and one of them makes an illegal sale, the consequences can be devastating for everyone involved. Your restaurant could be fined or have its alcohol license suspended. If an illegal sale results in damage, injuries, or death, the restaurant could be sued. You and the employee who made the sale could also be found liable. In some states, you can even be charged with a crime.

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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