Is Your Wine List Better than P.F. Chang’s?

July 6, 2011 § Leave a comment

In compiling our wine list analysis of over 165 chain restaurants, we made some startling discoveries.  It appears that some casual restaurants are being far more innovative than their fine-dining counterparts.  Winemetrics evaluated each chain for features that increased customer wine choices and also for features proven to increase wine revenues.  For the purposes of this article, we condensed our findings to a 6-point total from the 100 point total used in our Wine List Report Card and trimmed the size to 10 representative casual, upscale casual and fine-dining restaurants. Below is a summary of our findings (more details can be found here):

Chain Name Type Complete WL Online # Wines BTG Total Score
PF Chang’s Casual 1 38 4
Legal Seafood Fine 0 29 4
CA Pizza Kitchen* Casual 0.5 27 2.5
Ted’s Montana Grill Casual 1 22 2
Roy’s Fine 0 41 1
Oceanaire Fine 1 33 1
Morton’s* Fine 0.5 30 0.5
Chart House Fine 0 32 0
The Palm Fine 0 28 0
J. Alexander’s Upscale Casual 0 26 0
         
1 = Yes,  0=No        
* Has a core wine list online with no prices    

While no list scored a perfect 6, a casual-dining chain took first place, P.F, Chang’s China Bistro.  This chain has a have-it-your-way approach to its wine selection and posts a complete wine list with prices on its website.  The real winner however, should have been Legal Seafoods, which has one of the most feature-rich wine lists in our entire survey. Legal Seafoods major weakness, however, is that unless you visited one of their restaurants, you would never know about its superb wine selection. There is no wine list on their website (not even a sample or core list) or even a mention of their top-notch wine program. This is a huge deficiency on Legal Seafoods part and a disservice to both existing and potential customers.

P.F. Chang’s, although tied with Legal Seafoods in points, took the #1 spot due to a significantly larger by-the-glass selection, of which all are served by the half-glass (3.5 oz.).  This chain goes one step further, offering a build-your-own flight option of three 2.5 oz. pours of any BTG wine for $8 (price varies by location). Overall, a solid wine program with features that are curiously absent from many fine-dining wine lists.

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