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Customers are crying out for support when buying wine KAM research finds

Published:  27 April, 2022

New research out this week shows that 1-in-3 customers don’t feel confident ordering wine in pubs, bars and restaurants, with 1-in-9 admitting that they often find the experience intimidating.

In partnership with Hallgarten & Novum Wines, the research from KAM looks at the customer experience when ordering wine in pubs, bars and restaurants and found that 32% of wine drinkers don’t feel that pubs and bars provide enough information to help them make an informed decision when ordering wine. The research showed that restaurants fared slightly better, with the equivalent figure being 57%.

1-in-3 find the words used to describe wine on menus too confusing and ambiguous. This is particularly true of younger drinkers, this figure is 1-in-2 for Generation Z (18-26-year-olds), yet these younger wine drinkers are also a lot less likely to ask staff for help or advice.

Blake Gladman, strategy & insights director at KAM, said: “For a category as emotive as wine, it should be seen as a warning that 1-in-3 wine drinkers say they don’t feel confident when ordering wine in a pub, bar, or restaurant.

"Whilst the layout and copy on menus are critical in helping give greater clarity and confidence to customers, there is also obviously a key role for the staff to play when breaking down this confidence barrier. Nothing can replicate the ease at which well-trained and knowledgeable staff can put the customer when guiding them through their selection.”

Andrew Bewes, MD of Hallgarten & Novum Wines, said: “The hospitality industry has changed significantly over the last few years, as have the demands of its customer base. Therefore, it is more important than ever that the industry better understands guests’ wine-buying mentality.

"Seventy percent of our customer base lies within the hospitality sector, and compilation and design of restaurant, bar and pub wine lists combined with front of house training lies at the core of our service to the on trade; this research will go a long way in helping hospitality operators better understand the needs and mindset of the wine consumer, enabling them to provide a more tailored and effective service.”

In the last 12 months, 1-in-3 wine drinkers had found that a wine they wanted from the menu wasn’t available. Nearly 2-in-5 had been served wine in a dirty glass, and a further 15% said the wine hadn’t been served at the ideal temperature.

Blake Gladman, KAM, added: “Since lockdowns, we are seeing a much more discerning customer base. Venues must recognise the value proposition for customers – if the experience isn’t there, it’s a much easier decision for them to enjoy their wine experience at home instead of going out. Getting that experience right is key for venues.

"A category that customers find so enjoyable needs to be dialled up to ensure it’s an experience that they don’t forget. It’s worrying to see there are still many occasions when venues are not getting the basics right.”