BEVERAGE MANAGEMENT SYSTEM BINWISE MAKES ALL THE DIFFERENCE FOR SARAH CLARKE, BEVERAGE DIRECTOR OF MOZZA RESTAURANT GROUP
With a “huge inventory” of over 1,600 wine SKUs, Sarah Clarke has her job cut out for her. She is Beverage Director for Mozza Restaurant Group, Mario Batali, Joseph Bastianich and Nancy Silverton’s portfolio of Los Angeles restaurants that includes elegant, highly acclaimed Osteria Mozza (where Clarke also serves as GM) and neighboring Pizzeria Mozza, Mozza 2go and salumi-centric chi Spacca. All are clustered on the corner of Melrose and Highland, making Clarke’s job at least a tiny bit easier.
Her list, inherited from former beverage director Taylor Parsons, is all Italian except for Champagne. “I fleshed out a few areas where I thought we had some holes,” she says, “and kept adding to it.” Parsons had already implemented beverage management system BinWise when Clarke took the reins, and she was immediately impressed with the immense capabilities of the scalable software, developed by Grant Gilligan and former sommelier Tony Cha. “Whether it’s a big list or a small list, BinWise works either way,” enthuses Clarke, who had used a couple of other “less effective” inventory control applications at previous positions—“nothing as good as BinWise, for sure.”
Clarke, a D.C. area native from a wine collecting family, studied business in college then went through the Culinary Institute of America at the Hyde Park campus in New York’s Hudson Valley. “The CIA wine program starts right after you finish your externship. The second I took the wine course, it was done: I knew this was what I wanted to do,” she recalls vividly.
She moved to the West Coast several years ago and has since enjoyed an enviable career at some of L.A.’s most notable chef-driven establishments, including Joachim Splichal’s Patina Group (where she was quickly in charge of a large wine list with several hundred SKUs and a steep learning curve), Nancy Silverton’s Campanile, The Langham with Michael Voltaggio during his Top Chef days and Church & State under Walter Manzke, finally winding up at Mozza three and a half years ago.
Clarke praises the BinWise team for their willingness to listen: “They’re all about feedback. Not only will they help you with any problems you may be having, but they’ll go out of their way to make sure you know all the features. I can send in emails to support and get emails right back.”
BinWise is also helpful with frequency of sales on any given wine in your program. “With a big list like ours, wines can get overlooked,” says Clarke. “If there’s something sitting in your inventory that may have not sold for a while that you could move, BinWise brings attention to it with the last day sales report.”
Clarke, it seems, is the right person for the job—and BinWise is the right tool. But with seven sommeliers working under her, Clarke is quick to share the kudos: “I love my somm team. I couldn’t run this program or do what I do without them—or BinWise.”
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by David Gadd / photo by Timothy Murray