How timely this letter was. I’ve just been through a very similar experience with a winebuyer/owner/wine rep triangle. It was… Awkward. It’s very rarely a good thing when the boss gets “more involved” in the winebuying decisions if he’s been absent from them previously. Yes, obviously Restaurant Owner has a better grasp on the working budget of the establishment, but most times he or she ends up just mucking around and screwing with a well-thought-out list and a systematic approach to the winebuying that really truly is making them money.
(Note: REPublic posts are reader-submitted.)
Dear Restaurant Owner/Employer of Winebuyer,
Thank you for hijacking my pouring. No, it’s surely no problem that you interrupted my seemingly successful meeting with your Winebuyer. I don’t mind at all when you’re content to chip in your two cents once or twice or twelve times – after all, it seems you have so many ill-educated cents to toss my way that I might as well accept your philanthropic efforts and start collecting since I obviously won’t be paying my rent this month with my commissions.
You’d like to re-taste all of the wines I just poured for Winebuyer? Clearly you employed Winebuyer for their education, palate and knowledge of wines since your expertise lies elsewhere, but… sure! No problem! Grab another glass and I’ll go through my spiel once again since you don’t seem interested in reading the one sheet that I labored to perfect and obviously I have ample time to spare. Oh, and you want to taste my most expensive bottles? Excellent! Of course they sell well – I’ve studied your menu and know that this Pinot will match these four dishes and the Syrah will be great in collaboration with those ones. Let me give you a hint – I know this business, I know wines, I have some integrity intact and I wouldn’t try to sell you crappy wines that you can’t move at 70 bucks a pop. Can you have them for half the wholesale price? Um….. seriously? Let me check my numbers and see if there’s any wiggle room….
Oh, so instead you’d like to taste our second tier wines. Don’t worry – sales has evidently given me the thickest skin, so the face you make as you scrunch your nose and give an exasperated sigh as you ask me to bring out these oh-so-sub-par vintages doesn’t affect me at all. You’d like to know if you can get these wines for half of the wholesale price? Um… seriously? And you’re wondering if you can keep my wine opener? Wait, what??
As much as I enjoyed the interruption that frustrated Winebuyer so much that he plodded off elsewhere and likely hid in the walk-in and used your organic limes to chase shots of tequila, let me be completely honest with you: I’m not here to haggle. I appreciate that you want the best deal, but I’m not the one that sets the prices and you might need to summon a little faith to believe that I’m not trying to screw you. Your one-time purchase won’t permanently fix my powerful need to eat; I’m looking for a long-term relationship here where every couple of months we meet up again and share business gossip over a few new pours before you purchase enough to fill my cupboard with something better than Top Ramen. Do you think that’s really going to happen if I screw you over at every turn? You see, this is why Winebuyer and I make these appointments with each other – Winebuyer knows the deal and I would suggest that you—from this point forward—just pat yourself on the back for your wise choice in hiring an educated Winebuyer that has earned your list a great reputation and just trust that we know what we’re doing.
Ps. Thanks for pocketing my wine opener when I wasn’t looking.