Bertucci's Italian Kitchen Makes Wine Work Hard

Increasing wine sales is never easy, with most operators sticking with tweaks around the edges to make things better.

Bertucci’s Italian Kitchen, winner of the 2015 VIBE Vista award for best wine promotion among chain restaurants, decide the chain required a more comprehensive effort, opting for a year-long seasonally based program at its 88 locations to improve same store sales and the guest experience. The seasonal wine and food promotion, merchandised with appealing point of sale material at the table, was based on offering higher tier wines than the chain normally carried, and offering them in a larger than standard eight ounce pour, something the chain had never offered before. The wines were further promoted by being paired with seasonal fare relevant to the wine.

Table materials gave plenty of attention to the wines being offered. For instance, Ruffino Chianti was featured, with the description reading: “Soft and medium bodied, Ruffino Chianti is characterized by a marvelous freshness, making for an easy to drink wine. Hints of spice and hazelnut abound with pleasantly fruity aromas. Satisfyingly delicious.” The standard pour was priced at $7.99, with the larger pour, called “a little more” set at $10.50. Bottle price was $31.

A store level training program equipped servers with tasting notes and selling points while on-line videos bolstered the training for the event. The chain also made sure that they introduced a program to control waste, introducing a wine gauge for measuring serves as well as a vacuum preservation system to keep all the wines fresh.

Overall results were impressive - this on-going promotion resulted in the largest beverage sales increase Bertucci’s has ever seen - 57.5 percent wine sale increase attributed to the larger pour and an amazing 625 percent increase in featured wine sales, moving volume from 400 glass per week on average to 2500 per week during the promotion.

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