A Panel at the Italian Trade Commission’s Vino 2010 examines a hot button issue By Liza B. Zimmerman A panel of on-premise experts agreed to disagree as to whether the on-premise arena is still as important to brand recognition as it once was. The bulk of the speakers agreed that restaurants remain essential venues for brand building, but some say they have diminished in prestige and importance. Fred Tibbetts Jr. , president and CEO of Fred Tibbetts & Associates Inc., a national accounts sales and marketing firm, said that while the on-premise sector has suffered in general as a result of consumers trading down, the “brands that fell out of favor were the ones that the consumer wasn’t familiar with.” He added that consumers remain focused on value and that brands without a solid track record won’t sell well. Sandy Block, master of wine and vice president of beverage operations at Legal Sea Foods, said his customers needs come first. He added that they were often very focused on value added and that he was offering wine flights to help compare and contrast wines for them as a result. He also stressed the importance of maintain strong partnerships with suppliers and other tiers of the restaurant business. Marilyn Vogel, national director of on-premise accounts at Banfi Vintners, said key promotions had been essential to brand building for her company in the current economy. She mentioned successful promotions that Banfi had carried out with the Belnero Tuscan wine brand and Darden’s Capital Grille and Wyndham Hotels and a half bottle of Natura Chilean wine. David Francke, managing director and partner at Folio Fine Wine Partners and Gary Grunner, founder of Grapes on the Go, a beverage marketing company, were also part of the panel. It was moderated by master sommelier and master of wine Ronn Wiegand, the publisher of Restaurant Wine. The panel took place during the Italian Trade Commission and several Italian regions’ three-day Italian wine tasting and seminar program Vino 2010 in New York City.
Brand building in the on-premise sector
Last modified: 02/11/2010