Three Reasons Why Sommeliers Are Good For Business

The rigorous education and extensive knowledge required of Sommeliers offers businesses more than just a wine-connoisseur. Skills that are instilled throughout the Certified Sommelier course offered by the UK Sommelier Association.

Ambitious young people are getting drunk on the idea of a very modern career choice: wine. The increasingly fashionable status of wine is enticing thousands of twentysomethings to shun conventional degrees for the chance to become a top sommelier.

The number of people investing in their future by taking sommelier courses with the UK Sommelier Association, to become professional sommeliers has increased by 50 per cent in the last two years, helped by the fact that, once they have graduated, we assist them in finding employment opportunities, not only in London, but around the world!

No longer are we seeing Italian nationals attending our courses, in part due to their connection with the Italian Sommelier Assocation (AIS), but increasingly our students come from all over the world, who have settled in London seeking opportunities that are few and far between in their native lands, giving them the means to express their love and passion for wine.

More and more are even leaving behind desk jobs in other industries, to follow a career path in high end hospitality, giving them the opportunity to visit wineries all over the world, tasting wines most people would never have heard of and allowing them the freedom of expression in creating wine lists in collaboration with the chefs. 

These professionals are expected to understand every imbibe option on the menu and lead service from extensive staff training to inventory and pricing. All of these factors contribute to one thing – the bottom line – and with a solid bottom line comes the top three reasons why Sommeliers are good for business.

Food drives people but beverages keep you in business: Beverages make up 20-40 percent of a restaurant’s revenue because of their large profit margin and the low labour costs compared to food preparation. The industry standard mark-up for wine is 200-400 percent and restaurants rely on this to offset fluctuating costs of food, labour, venue and utilities. With a Sommelier on staff to keep the wine list alive and the drinks pouring, a business owner can sleep easy.

Beyond the wine list: A Sommelier’s role is much more than recommending wine – they are also expected to specialise in beer, sake, cider, spirits and even coffee and tea, plus they need to select these beverages at a variety of price points based on the target clientele, type of cuisine and location. Sommeliers are also tasked with educating and training staff about beverage offerings on a weekly basis.

Loyalty Pays Off: Through the trust of a Sommelier’s knowledge, customers tend to feel comfortable in their choices and spending. Sommeliers heighten the overall dining experience and contribute to an increase in customer loyalty, which plays a huge role in profitability with repeat customers making up 51 percent of total sales at fine-dining restaurants.

Some would say the role of the Sommelier is changing, as it has become more inclusive of all drinks offered within a restaurant’s beverage program. This evolving role presents an opportunity for businesses to increase their competitive advantage and gain market-share in the crowded restaurant industry. With an increased interest in the art of Sommelierie and our globally recognised sommelier certification, the UK Sommelier Association expects a strong future for those with the skill-set of a Sommelier and would advise businesses to look into the benefits as well.

If you would like more information on the Certified Sommelier Course for yourself or a small group of your staff, send an e-mail to: info@uksommelierassociation.com. The UK Sommelier Association has a new course starting on the 3rd October in Kensington, and spaces although available, are fast becoming limited!

By Armando Pereira