Guillaume Bienaime, owner of Zola in Palo Alto, California, has always been leery of technology in restaurants, but when he was approached about InVine, he decided to give it a test run. As he was told, InVine was more than just an iPad wine list. While it does list the wine menu, along with more detailed information on those wines, restaurant owners also can use the program for managing inventory, running special promotions, and updating pricing.
Bienaime borrowed two iPads and put them in his restaurant. It didn’t take long for him to see clear results. “People who were intimidated about buying wine are now ordering it,” he says. In fact, he has seen beverage sales increase between 10 and 15 percent.
At Hotel Valencia in San Jose, California, Jonathan Whitwell, director of food and beverage, says he also has seen an increase in wine and cocktail sales in the restaurant since adding InVine. “The pictures definitely help with the drink portion, and you can’t beat the descriptions and pairings with the wine,” he says. But the benefits don’t stop there.
Whitwell says he uses InVine to cross-promote specials in the restaurant and the hotel. These promos include specialty desserts, cocktails, live-music events, and even in-room packages for hotel guests. “We also started a Prestige Wine program in which we serve Dom Perignon, Ruinart Rose, Veuve Clicquot Brut, Silver Oak, and Twomey by the glass. InVine helped us set up the promotional display screen and the menu listings,” he says. “This program has been a huge success, and InVine is a large reason why.”
While InVine comes with more than 1 million beverages in its database, the company is ready to add more. Whitwell says he reached out to the company when he wanted to add a little-known wine from Ektimo Vineyards. “I simply had to submit a picture of the bottle, and within a day or two, the InVine team had every single detail on the wine in their system,” he says. “It is very cool to see a company that is so responsive.”
Bienaime says he also loves how easy it is to maintain inventory—simply adding and deleting items and skipping the menu-printing process. “I think between the paper and the time I save on printing menus and managing inventory, plus the increase in sales, InVine has definitely paid for itself.”