By Bill Tremblay
As new technologies are introduced to the public at an ever-increasing rate, restaurants aren’t left out of the fold.
Tech developers, many of which are Canadian-based, are digitizing tasks for management as well as front and back of house.
Everything from a restaurant’s marketing to staff training to evaluating strategies is now in the palm of an operator’s hand.
A sommelier at every table
A new software application is allowing sommeliers to digitally accompany their front of house staff to each table they serve.
The Vancouver-based Quini data company launched QUINI SOMM, a cloud-based software system that aims to improve wine sales, streamline and standardize testing and enhance customer engagement.
Roger Noujeim, Quini chief executive officer, said the software enables staff to recommend the right wine to customers.
“Everybody wants to sell more wine,” Noujeim said. “Unless the servers have the credibility and confidence to come up to the table and upsell rather than take orders, the vicious cycle continues.”
QUINI SOMM includes a virtual trainer that walks staff through tasting wines available at their restaurant. As staff taste the product, the app records notes on eye, nose, mouth finish and opinion.
The server’s notes are then stored in the mobile application.
“We made sure the tool takes that information along with the servers on their own cell phones or restaurant tablets,” Noujeim said.
“The opportunity to deliver better service, more precise recommendations and to assist the restaurant in saving time is critical.”
As well, the app includes tasting notes from the restaurant’s sommelier and other staff members. The sommelier’s notes, as well as suggested pairings, are ranked first within the app.
“When I am a server talking to a customer today, I can go from saying the typical things like, ‘This one is my favourite,’ to actually talking about what the sommelier thinks about the wine and what food it is recommended with,” Noujeim said.
“We are empowering the sommelier with tools that never existed before, to ensure their sales and service have state of the art technology.”
Alongside the ability to create wine lists recommended for various occasions, integrated analytics allow restaurant management to access their staff’s tasting data.
“This way I’m archiving at all times the tasting and ranking of the wine by staff and sommelier,” Noujeim said. “I’m able to track and have information about the team, the tasting and the wine at any point in time.”
The SOMM app uses the database of the company’s original QUINI, a wine tasting and rating app that published reviews of thousands of varieties of wine.
Customers are also able to see reviews and browse wines via the public-facing portion of the app. Reviews may also be integrated into a restaurant’s website.
“This takes care of the millennial’s need to check out what their peers think,” Noujeim said. “They want transparency.”
Read the full story in Canadian Restaurant News