Romano’s Macaroni Grill is bringing back its Summer Uncorked promotion, its half-off program for wine bottles and wines by the glass, from May 26-June 29.

Launched last year, the Summer UnCorked grew out of a longstanding promotion that runs on Thursdays, mezzo prezzo (half price in Italian), explains Megan Wiig, Macaroni Grill senior manager of beverage innovation.

“In general, our sales were excellent during the mezzo prezzo promotion—it obviously really appealed to guests,” she says. “Drawing from that knowledge, we decided to be bold and offer something no one else had done: we extended it to everyday all summer long.”

The promotion includes every wine on Macaroni Grill's extensive list, composed exclusively of wines produced in Italy and the United States. Wines by the glass are also included. Guests are able to order high-end bottles like Barbi Brunello di Montalcino from Tuscany and Pertinace Barolo Nebbiolo from Piedmont, Italy, and save up to $37. Also half-price is the brand’s "on your honor" house wine, Valoroso Toscano, crafted exclusively for Romano's Macaroni Grill.

Summer Uncorked also feeds into the operation’s overall family-style trattoria concept, where the  “on your honor” house wine plays a big role. Similar to how table wine is handled in family restaurants in Italy, the server leaves the carafe on the table, allowing guests to fill their own glasses, and then letting the server know how many glasses they filled. “It’s how we position and brand ourselves in the market,” Wiig says.

The promotion runs for only a month, the result of a leadership change in March. “Our new president, John Gilbert, wants to take a hard look at the promotion, and see how it drives business, instead of just throwing it out there,” explains Wiig. “He wants to see how it behaves for us.”

There’s no doubt that Summer Uncorked is popular with guests. “We see a greater mix of products being ordered,” Wiig says. “People are more willing to take a risk when there is a lower price point, and look toward more interesting wines. It gives them an opportunity to try some of the iconic wines of Italy they may have not had the chance to try.”

Macaroni Grill’s wine price list, promotion aside, runs from $24 to $75. During Summer Uncorked, both the wine novice and wine connoisseur understand they are getting a deal, when a $75 bottle of wine can be had for $37.

“We are very aggressively priced wise to benefit the consumer,” Wiig says, adding the wines are heavily weighted in the $20-30 price point, presenting more options than competitors.

By Joann Whitcher

Beverage, Casual Dining, Chain Restaurants, Industry News, Marketing & Promotions, Romano's Macaroni Grill