Inventory management system BinWise makes life easier for master Sommelier June Rodil
Talk about having your hands full. June Rodil not only passed the grueling exam for her Master Sommelier certification in May, gives lectures on the business of wine and beverages, and visited Champagne Roederer for our cover story in September (see page 44), but she is also Beverage Director for bustling Austin, TX restaurant group McGuire Moorman Hospitality. The company currently operates six restaurants: flagship fine-dining establishment Jeffrey’s and its casual next-door spinoff, Josephine House; downtown Texas-style barbecue spot Lamberts; Perla’s Seafood & Oyster Bar and its rawbar-driven .little brother,. Clark’s; and Elizabeth Street Café, a neighborhood Vietnamese café/French bakery.
“They’re all in Austin, but they are all entirely different concepts, with entirely different wine lists and cocktail programs,” explains Rodil, who is charged with overseeing the wines, spirits, beers, non-alcoholic beverages, glassware and “all things liquid” for all six busy locations. Almost impossible, you might be thinking. But thanks to inventory management system BinWise, which Rodil began using in January of 2015, her job got a lot easier.
She waxes rhapsodic about how BinWise has helped her streamline her inventory control, sales, purchasing and accountability. “You can maneuver it in many ways,” enthuses Rodil, who was introduced to BinWise directly by its co-founder, Tony Cha, himself a former sommelier.
“Each restaurant has its own BinWise account and does its own inventory,” says Rodil, “but I can keep track of company-wide data, sales and inventory online, from any location.” Rodil notes that even while she was getting hands-on lessons in remuage from Roederer’s Chef de Cave in Reims, she could still have her finger on the pulse of her restaurants’ beverage programs digitally, thanks to BinWise.
Her favorite feature of BinWise? “The variance report. It tells you how accurate your sales-to-purchase ratios are—it helps with accountability,” says Rodil. This feature, which compares sales against purchases and inventory, notes any discrepancies; it is especially good for by-the-glass programs, which are highly important in several of the casual restaurants Rodil oversees. “If you have bartenders with ‘heavy hands,’ it brings that to your attention,” says the Master Sommelier; “or it might tell you that they haven’t been pouring enough. It’s great when you’re trying to be accurate about your costs and ensures consistency for what guests received in their glasses.”
Rodil notes one specific example of how using the application helped her bottom line: “BinWise told us that sparkling rosé by the glass is our highest-volume and -profit item company-wide” Rodil says, “so we are considering making a private label sparkling rosé to enhance the bottom line while bringing a cool and dynamic new branding project to the fold. When you realize that you’re looking at things that you haven’t been able to see previously, it’s awesome!”
Rodil, with the help of Assistant Beverage Director Daisy Ryan, helped management and staff at all the McGuire Moorman restaurants implement BinWise. “It takes time to establish a new system, but in the end it will save a lot of time,” she comments. “Our beverage managers used to come in on their days off to place orders; now they can do so remotely by looking at their perpetual inventory on any given day” She also notes that BinWise’s third-party email system forwards distributor orders seamlessly and transparently, “as if you were personally ordering the product.”
The irony is not lost on Rodil that the further along somms progress in their beverage careers, the more they have to be adept in accounting, costing and other tedious business techniques—things that may distance them from the passion that got them into the industry in the first place. “I love what I do and what got me into this job—the mystique, the poetry of wine—but my job can only exist within specific business parameters, so you’ve got to be able to run numbers and know what those numbers mean. If you have a program that makes that easier, you have more time to be in love with your work.”
by David Gadd / photo by Kirk Weddle