Vineyard & Winery Management

January - February 2012

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MANAGEMENT By Paul Gospodarczyk Winery Tasting Room Staff Programs for Incentive Strategic, proactive programs encourage ongoing success hink about a time in your life when you felt most valued in your professional employment. Did this occur at a company holiday party? Were the feelings related to a plaque or certificate? A financial bonus? To help foster these feelings of value, many wineries develop incentive programs for tasting room sales staff. Notice, the word "pro- grams" suggests recurrence and planning. Strategic implementation AT A GLANCE Incentive programs for tasting room staff can help maintain and attract the best performers. A good program can correct issues stemming from poor hiring decisions. Incentives can be tied to addition- al training to advance the tasting room's mission. Incentive programs can help wineries "manage-out" under- performers. 122 VINEYARD & WINERY MANAGEMENT JAN - FEB 2012 of a proactive incentive program holds numerous benefits for winery personnel and assists in fulfilling the mission of the tasting room. RESTAURANT INCENTIVES The restaurant industry has developed a powerful compensa- tion/incentive program for servers. On many occasions these reim- bursement schedules have con- verted temporary employees into career servers. To illustrate, one night I was working as a sommelier at a res- taurant and preparing to depart for the evening, since the few remain- ing diners were not drinking wine. Then, a party of eight arrived and proceeded to purchase close to $1,000 in second-growth Bordeaux – the sort of wines a sommelier looks forward to serving, since it requires discrete showmanship and is generally accompanied by a com- fortable tip. There are many factors affecting this passion for service, including the intermittent rewards from VIP customers, a free-market review of one's service in the form of a tip, Photo: Thinkstock/Digital Vision WWW.VWM-ONLINE.COM

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