The SOMM Journal

February / March 2017

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 20 of 116

20 { THE SOMM JOURNAL } FEBRUARY/MARCH 2017 { bottom line } DO YOU ASPIRE TO BE A SOMMELIER who makes a difference in the restaurant world, or entire wine world? Anything is pos- sible, but anything takes considerable resolve; although it's never too late to begin . . . Don't be a no-show. The first part of being a wine professional is acting like one. This means not making appointments you can't keep. Never RSVP to something you have no intention attending, and plan to be on time. Basically, don't be a butthole. Be some - one other wine professionals can respect. Stop reading consumer magazines— especially ones with 100-point scores, which to a wine professional's education is like painting by number. I assume you've attended enough tastings with people you respect but who have completely different opinions on wines. God bless opinionators, but they'll never make wines you serve tonight taste any better to your guests, with your cuisine. The only magazines worth a professional's time are trade and industry periodicals that actually teach something about wines, regions, winemaking, viticul - ture, food or restaurant operations. Stop trying to upsell. It is never the size of a check, it's the specialness of a dining experience; just like it's never how high the sales, it's how consistent the profit mar- gin. Restaurants, after all, thrive on return business. If you want guests to return, give them the best possible experience—which includes the feeling of money well spent, not blown—regardless of how much (or little) they consume and expend. Focus on what matters! Get back to basics. Like training your staff to be knowledgeable and truthful in their sales spiels. Sharpening your standards of procedures so that they can succeed—cel - lars restocked, lists updated, bottles opened on time, glasses re-poured, tables main- tained, checks processed in timely manner, etc. If there are breakdowns, don't make excuses and don't blame your staff. Figure it out—that's your job! Quit looking. The only good manager is one who hires the right people, trains and plans adequately, supplies the necessary tools and then leads by example rather than dictating. This means, once the doors are open, not standing around looking good, but rather being on the floor assisting your staff (that's right, an effective manager serves his or her staff) while being an active participant in guest experiences. Show some courage. No one has ever lauded a serious restaurant for being a copycat, also-ran or wannabe. The most successful businesses are those run with imagination, originality and, yes, a good amount of guts. Do the right things, not what everyone else is doing. Teach actual food-and-wine matching, preferably by going through your chefs' dishes one at a time, tasting three to six different wines with each so that you and your staff can discover how sensations interact where it counts—on palates, not on paper. The goal, after all, is achieving the best possible guest experiences, and no amount of book- knowledge will ever substitute for knowing how wines and foods actually taste together. Never underestimate your guests. Sometimes they act dumb or ask stupid questions. But your average guest willing to spend hundreds on a night out has, by definition, shown great capacity to learn and discover new sensations. If you assume the best, you are more likely to be part of unforgettable experiences. Something everyone talks about. If you treat them like idiots and serve nothing but lowest- common-denominator wines, most likely you will achieve . . . nothing. 2017 Resolutions for Restaurant Wine Professionals by Randy Caparoso PHOTOS: ENCRIER AND NIKOLA93 VIA THINKSTOCK

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of The SOMM Journal - February / March 2017