“Many beer, wine and liquor vendors provide excellent resources to help restaurant operators,” says Linda Duke, marketing expert and chief executive of Duke Marketing, celebrating 25 years in the restaurant industry. “Some assist in providing table tents, posters, coasters and other materials for in-store promotion, and assist restaurants with tasting seminars for staff, menu pairings, bar promotions, and eye-catching displays.”

Red Boy Pizza, an eight unit, forty-five year old brand known for their famous sourdough crust in the San Francisco Bay Area, recently held VIP Tasting events to introduce new managers at their locations. “By partnering with our wine vendor we were able to secure someone pouring and educating our guests about the brands we serve and they provided some additional bottles without charging us to help promote their brands,” said Joseph Radwan, president, Red Boy Pizza.

Marketing Tips

1. Selling beverages is as easy as suggestion! Be sure your servers or cashier offers beverages before ringing guests up! “We keep half bottles of wine by our register so if to-go orders want to grab one, they see it while they are paying,” says Radwan.

2. Promotions mix things up and get guest’s attention. Whether it is March Madness or Merlot Monday’s, there is always something to promote. Get creative.

3. Offering wines by the glass, wine pairings, and wine dinners, all are great ways to promote your beverages.

4. Seasonal ingredients make a splash with guests! Strawberry Martinis for spring and Orange Italian Sodas for Halloween! Think seasonal. Run promotions on lighter wines in the summer/spring and heartier wines in the fall/winter.

5. Happy Hours: A slice and soda is a great inexpensive food and drink offering to kick start a successful and fruitful happy hour. Incorporate other food and beverage offers to entice the happy hour and value-driven crowd.