Timing and content of communication

By Yuji Matsumoto

No matter how good a product is, the message needs to be communicated for customers to try the product. Also, the timing and message must be appropriate to lead to sales. Therefore, let’s consider when the appropriate timing is and how to communicate the appeal of Japanese sake in a way that leads to sales.

Consider who the message is directed to
Are chefs, servers, and bartenders trained appropriately? Giving them a small sample to try will not help them adequately describe and communicate the appeal of sake to customers appropriately. Training the staff to thoroughly understand why a brand of sake tastes delicious and why customers should try it is important because a single try will not be sufficient to understand even ten percent of the appeal of a brand. Therefore, please have staff try the sake paired with the cuisine.

During a food pairing session, Junmai was the least popular, yet when served with beef, all attendees unanimously agreed that Junmai was the most complimentary. The important part is to communicate why the recommended sake is most suitable for that particular customer. Please be mindful of the sake’s compatibility with the menu selection.

Of course, a good place to start would be to have the servers change their ordering from “What can I get you to drink?” to “It’s cold outside, would you like to try some hot sake?” This suggestion alone is a major difference. Also, please mention two to three different brands of Japanese sake during the recommendation.

Speak informatively to customers in a way that generates a response like “Oh really?” For example, “How about AAA, a dry and refreshing sake from Niigata that goes great with sushi?” Or “Would you like to try BBB, a brand of sake from Akita that has body and goes great with teriyaki?” The point is to word the recommendations into easy-to-understand sales pitches that makes customers want to try the brand. Offer two to three different brands that range from reasonable to mid-range prices. Also, pay attention to the weather. On cold days, anyone would prefer a warm beverage; therefore, it’s more effective to offer hot sake over cold.





やはり、サーバーがドリンクオーダーを取る時に顧客に「お飲み物をいかがいたしましょうか?」という一言を、「寒いので美味しい熱燗(hot sake)は、いかがですか」と変えてみること。この一言で大きな違いが生まれる。また、この際、2~3銘柄お薦めの日本酒も伝えること。