Posts Tagged ‘fine dining’

Is Fine Dining Dead?

January 25, 2011

Is fine dining dead? To hear some restaurateurs tell it, the whole concept went out the window when the housing market went south and the American public began to realize that they could no longer afford to go out to eat; at least not at fine dining establishments. However, a new survey was published recently by Restaurant Rx which seems to dispute that assertion.

Fine Dining is Evolving, Not Dead

Some make the claim that fine dining has gone the way of vinyl records, i.e., something a handful of connoisseurs still appreciate but that the masses, even those who could afford to care, have passed by. Yet others still claim that fine dining is alive and well. The only thing is that fine dining has been changing dramatically over the past few years.

Food Quality? Why Would You Even Ask?

One of the key points the study made was that food quality is really not even on the table as a definition for fine dining today. It’s simply assumed that it’s going to happen – of course we’ll see fine dining. However, the things those respondents to the survey still look for and define as part of the “fine dining” experience as opposed to casual dining is service and VIP treatment for their time in a restaurant. In other words, as always, it’s all about the experience – about being pampered and getting a wonderful experience.

Personalized Treatment Expected

Another thing respondents said they expect from fine dining establishments is the personal touch. They want to see that the waiters pamper them and cater to their needs. However, that said, respondents to the survey still noted that they would tend to favor restaurants based on the cuisine that was offered and whether they happened to enjoy it. They responded that they expect to dine repeatedly in restaurants that are “favorites” and will choose their favorites based on the food more than anything else.

The iPad Wine List–Now Just a Touch Screen Away

October 6, 2010

Well here’s a brand new take on how to serve wine–use an iPad. Traditional wine lists at fine restaurants have always been a bit difficult to maintain, given the wide variety of wines one may find in a well stocked cellar. Several restaurants have taken advantage of the latest technology craze to update an age old tradition.

How Does the iPad Wine List Work?

Bones is one of the oldest steak houses in Atlanta. The restaurant features oak paneling and fine white tablecloths now hands out iPads to their customers, customized with a listing of the 1,350 wines available in their extensive cellar.

The new system allows diners to search for wines by date, region and type. It also allows them to choose directly on the device’s touch screen exactly which wines they’d like to have.

The iPad Wine Lis Raises Wine Purchases 11%

However, this isn’t just about creating a new experience for the diners where wines are easier to choose. It’s also good business–just two weeks after introducing the new iPad wine lists, the restaurant is reporting 11% growth in the purchase of wines by their patrons.

According to a recent report on the phenomenon, similar results have been reported at other restaurants that have tried the approach in places as diverse as New York, London and Sydney.

What’s Driving this Increase in Wine Sales?

It does seem that patrons are warming to the new menus not because of the novelty of the new technology but rather because they provide a new sense of empowerment.  It allows them to learn on their own about the various wines available from the restaurant without feeling pressured by a restaurant paid sommelier.

One key to this it seems is that the ratings provided on the iPad menus are by independent wine writers rather than by someone the restaurant may be paying to promote a particular brand that they are overstocked on.