BEVERAGE MANAGEMENT SYSTEM BINWISE DELIVERS THE GOODS FOR CARLIN KARR, WINE DIRECTOR OF FRASCA FOOD AND WINE IN BOULDER
FRASCA FOOD AND WINE IN BOULDER, CO, IS A MECCA for budding somms, drawing talent from all over the country eager to be mentored by its wine-passionate owner, Master Sommelier Bobby Stuckey. Carlin Karr met Stuckey while she was working as GM and Wine Director at Michelin-starred Sons & Daughters in San Francisco. When she heard that Frasca was in search of an Assistant Wine Director, she hopped a plane and interviewed. As Stuckey recalls, “She was the first and only interviewee I saw.”
Today, four years later, Karr is Beverage Director for the entire Frasca group, which includes the original restaurant, the more casual Pizzeria Locale and a new restaurant in Denver, Tavernetta by Frasca, scheduled to open early next year. Karr passed the Advanced Sommelier exam from the Court of Master Sommeliers on her first try and will be taking the Master Sommelier exam later this year.
When she arrived at Frasca, Karr recalls, “Our inventory was a nightmare and it never felt fully accurate. It took days and days to figure it out.” Fortunately, Karr had also met Tony Cha in San Francisco. Grant Gilligan and Cha, a former sommelier, founded beverage management system BinWise while working in some of the best restaurants in San Francisco. Karr recalls, “When I got to Frasca I thought, We really need BinWise.”
Moving from outdated Excel spreadsheets to cutting-edge BinWise, Karr, along with Sommelier Matt Mather, eventually developed a $125,000 wine inventory to one valued at $500,000 today. “When I started it took four days to dial in everything; now it just takes a few hours,” attests Karr.
“The inventory is just one piece of what makes BinWise so great for us,” continues Karr, who particularly likes the BinWise “Recipe” function. “You can enter the recipe for a cocktail and BinWise synchs with your POS system, keeping track of everything. You can dial in your cost of goods so well. It’s made a great difference for us.” The assistance of managing overhead and the dialing in of costs offered by the BinWise platform is valuable even with a smaller program like a pizzeria, “which is why we also use BinWise at Pizzeria Locale,” says Karr.
Charged with training, Karr also sets up all of the restaurants beverage staff with BinWise accounts, noting that the system’s online tutorials and training are “very accessible and user-friendly; everyone gets up to speed right away, which from my point of view is ideal.”
Since implementing BinWise, Karr and entire the professional Frasca beverage team—currently eight staffers are preparing for the Court of Master Sommeliers Advanced level exam and Stuckey himself does wine service every night—have never looked back. “Bobby is a huge fan,” relays Karr. “There’s no question that controlling cost of goods is the sign of a healthy restaurant. At our new restaurant in Denver we’ve already decided on using BinWise.”
by David Gadd / photo by Timothy Murray