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Geni Whitehouse
 
September 13, 2012 | Wine Club Management | Geni Whitehouse

Is your Tasting Room toast?

Guest post by Geni Whitehouse

I’m not suggesting that your tasting room is a complete failure or even that there is anything wrong with what you are doing. I bet it is quite lovely. But I am also willing to bet there is room for improvement.

That’s where toast comes in. The process of making toast is a great way to learn about the idea of continuous improvement and Kaizen principles which you can easily apply to your winery. Our firm uses the Toast Video to train winery staff in these concepts. It captures the steps involved in one man’s attempt to create toast for his wife. (You can imagine how it turns out.)  The video walks you through the sequence of steps done in an inefficient way, then shows how the same process looks with a few minor adjustments. It is impossible to watch the video without learning something (and working up a craving for buttered toast.) The video is amazing in its simplicity.

The question for you is how much of what you do in the winery is like the process of making toast. Are you doing things the same way they have always been done? Maybe it is time to take a step back and consider your actions. Kaizen includes a concept of seeing with a “Keen Eye”. How would your tasting room look if you viewed it with a Keen Eye, paying attention to the hundreds of small details that make up your guest experience? What does your guest see when he goes to make a purchase? Does every detail support the image you are trying to create in that visitor’s mind?

Think about areas in your tasting room where you might eliminate waste. Where might you find activities that waste time or effort? Are there functions that need to be outsourced? Items that need to be rearranged? Forms that need to be redesigned? How easy is it for your guest to make a purchase? Get your teams together and have everyone watch the video then walk through your tasting room. You’ll be amazed at the things you notice for the first time.

The next time you start doing an activity the same way you have always done it, stop for a minute and ask yourself “Am I making toast?”

Geni Whitehouse, CPA.CITP, CSPM
Countess of Communication
Brotemarkle, Davis & Co. LLP
www.bdcocpa.com

Geni is the Countess of Communication at Brotemarkle, Davis & Co, a CPA firm focused on wineries. She is the author of “How to Make a Boring Subject Interesting: 52 ways even a nerd can be heard” and is a frequent speaker at events around the country.  Together with Craig Underhill, she regularly teaches free classes for area vintners on topics related to finance and performance metrics. She is still trying to get her husband to fix her toast in the morning.
 

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