Now we are into the wine tasting season, life in the tasting room has gotten busier, especially on the weekends. The number of visitors increases exponentially in many wineries and particularly in the afternoons on Saturday and Sunday.
While there is not much you can do to get people to come earlier or during the week, when things are quieter, there are things that can be done to ensure that visitors don’t feel ignored or unimportant.
Overstaff rather than understaff. Yes it may seem that it’s costing more, but if the tasting room employees have a little more time to work with individual visitors they are likely to sell more than it costs to have them there.
Use a greeter during the busiest hours to welcome visitors and tell them if there is a wait. You may also want to have someone on the floor with glasses and wine to give visitors their first pour while they are waiting. If you have separate areas to sell gifts, wine and non-wine items, encourage visitors to browse until you have the opportunity to serve them.
If you are a winery that regularly gets more visitors than it can handle, put procedures in place, such as taking names and calling people when a spot is available. This will cut down on resentment that may build up when people who arrive later may find a place at the bar first.
Offer reservations via phone or through your website and have a specific area for those who make reservations. For wineries that charge for tasting, you may wish to charge visitors when they make a reservation, as that gives them more of a commitment. If the visitors who made reservations don’t show up then bring others into that area. Those who call before their reservation time to cancel can arrange a refund or another tasting.
3. Somewhere to go, something to do
Create an area with tables and chairs where visitors can relax until they can be served. If it is legal for you to do so and the weather cooperates, set up a bar outside or find other areas to serve guests. Have information about the wines, winery and wine club available in waiting areas for visitors to peruse.
People don’t mind waiting if you make it comfortable to do so and you acknowledge their presence. Being ready to handle larger numbers helps make a positive first impression and will make a return visit more likely.
A tip of the glass from me to you!