Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Education... crucial for our employees

As managers, we are constantly complemented by many of our guests for how knowledgeable our employees are about the wine we serve. Mercy was recently voted one of the top wine bars in the country. Aside from our atmosphere and wine list, we like to think that it is our service and knowledgeable staff that have contributed to this very high honor. Wine varies so much from year to year due to changes in climate, precipitation, and soil pH. It is very important to stay on top of all of these changes.

Vincent has done an exceptional job training and teaching the staff about the world of wine. When a server is hired at Mercy Wine Bar, they take part in an intense, four week training period, in which they taste almost every wine that we carry and it’s pairing with a food item. Most high end restaurants require a written test before a server is permitted to work on the floor; Mercy takes a different approach. We are so very confident with our four week training program; we will put a new hire out on the floor without a written test, allowing them to apply all that they have learned. So far, this approach has been extremely effective!

This month, we are taking our wine education a bit further. Mercy’s wine list contains descriptions that Vincent has put together. Instead of having Vincent come up with all of these, the management team has decided to challenge our staff to do the leg work for these descriptions. Every server has been assigned a selection of wines from all over the world to research and write their own descriptions for these wines. Our staff has many tools to help them reach this goal: internet search engines, information from our distributors, the always helpful, Larousse Encyclopedia of Wine and most importantly, access to smell and taste these wines. A further requirement: these descriptions should be personal and mandating that they use their own words and feelings to describe these wines. We believe this will give an additional opportunity to our staff to learn something new about wine and add a little flare to their already stellar knowledge.

We are very excited to see the results of this learning challenge! The new wine list will be printed and available for your viewing pleasure starting in April 2010. See you at Mercy!

Craig Brazeal
Bar Manager