As discussed in the article Front of House vs. Back of House, “For a successful restaurant to flourish, there are many parts that must work together to create a positive experience and end result for the consumer.” The same goes for tasting rooms.
Last summer, we enjoyed a long weekend in Napa Valley. As soon as we arrived, we headed straight to a popular winery we have been members of since the mid-1990s. This is one of the larger wineries in Napa and features more than one tasting room on the grounds.
Just after I found a spot at the tasting bar, a young employee raced into the room and told the server there was “a group of big fish” coming, and he wondered if the server could take them. The server said, “Yes—right over there,” pointing in my direction. Having overheard the exchange, I jokingly asked if they wanted me to move. “Yes,” the server replied. Guess where I moved? Right out the door!
I had just witnessed—and been brought into—a behind-the-scenes activity I should never have been aware of as a guest.
We followed up with an email relating the story, coupled with a request to cancel our membership. The email went to the Wine Club coordinator and vice president of operations. The coordinator responded two days later to confirm cancelation and said she would let the VP of operations address our concerns. The vice president still has not responded.
As customers, we were left wondering if our membership was less important than the potential for the winery to recruit the “group of big fish” as its newest members. How would you feel if that happened at your tasting room?
If you’re curious how your guests are treated and what you can do to improve their experience, consider our Secret Shopper service. We will document our observations while sharing insights on how to strengthen your customer service and sales.
For a broader gauge, we also offer Wine Club Surveys to measure guest satisfaction and provide actionable data.