Meet Chef Jim

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5 Min. read
April 28, 2024

Meet Chef Jim Recently we were able to sit down with world-renowned Chef Jim Smith...

Recently we were able to sit down with world-renowned Chef Jim Smith to discuss his experience since implementing WineView in his restaurant, The Hummingbird Way Oyster Bar.

Q: When did you first hear about Wineview?

As a chef, I am extremely detail oriented about my dishes. Wineview caught my attention when I learned that it had a database and algorithm that automatically tags and presents three different wine options depending on how that dish is prepared. The WineView database has over a quarter-million recipes and over 400,000 wines.

At first, I focused on how WineView got it “wrong.” However, over time, I understood how this technology could potentially fill a massive gap in the market – consistency and confidence with wine and wine programs for both guest and server alike.

When I heard about WineView’s partnership with Toast, I agreed to be the alpha restaurant. I felt like WineView really understood the challenges many operators face with their staff and was committed to solving the problem of our limited time. I like both the flexibility of WineView as well as the total control that it gives me to manage my wine program in my restaurant. I can easily edit the recommendations when I want to and also alert my staff of these changes right at the POS.

Q: What do you think about WineView pairing (pun intended) with Toast POS?

At Hummingbird Way Oyster Bar, I wanted to provide a great dining experience for guests that combines the freshest seafood available, along with an exquisite selection of wines to pair with it. I am excited about the Wineview and Toast partnership because for the first time, I am able to manage these things all in one place!

This used to be my wine program (points to a three-ring binder) and probably represents the wine program of many restaurants. Before this partnership, restaurant owners like myself had to pretty much manually organize our wine programs as well as take the time to train our servers. Since we only had so many hours in the day, I often felt that much of my wine program was missing. Since WineView does both, I can save time by accessing these programs right on my POS or on the WineView dashboard. This integration helps me and my servers seamlessly manage and even optimize my wine program. No other POS has this option-this is yet another reason Toast is the best!

WineView also allows me to use it as much or as little as I want. For example, Their algorithm automatically recommends three wines with each of my dishes. I am often very precise about what I want to pair with my dishes so I love the fact that I can override their recommendations and manually change them if and when I want to. This aspect helps me introduce new wine, move existing product, or control which wine gets served on any given night. On the flip side, I am no longer tied to my restaurant day after day!

Another important aspect is the back label “notes” feature. In the past, my new servers were faced with having to track me down or frantically leaf through “the binder” to find tech sheets or tasting notes to share with guests. Now, I can log all of those notes into the WineView system, so that even my newest server can have instant access to what I want them to share with my guests. This has built a lot of confidence in my staff.

During the pandemic, many operators faced supply chain issues that really threw servers and wine programs out of whack. Trying to figure out what we had available at any given time, or what needed to be moved, was almost impossible. These issues caused a lot of frustration and certainly resulted in lost wine sales. With WineView, notifications are automatically sent to my staff when we add something new or sell out of something. It’s simple: any time I make an update to my Toast POS, WineView automatically updates, with no extra time required on my end.

Q: What do you think the future of the industry looks like when it comes to wine?

Owning a restaurant is a different experience for everyone. In my restaurant, we are extremely guest focused. I believe that when a server can recommend wine pairings at the table and do so with confidence, both the restaurant and guest reap a huge benefit. Even WineView’s training is built with a dynamic focus in mind so servers want to learn about wine. That by itself can often greatly increase and enhance the guest experience.

During the pandemic, I felt that technology represented both friend and foe. It made a lot of operators realize that they could generate additional revenues with online orders, but it also showed how hard it can be to manage these new dining experiences. I have always wanted to be an advocate for best practices in this great industry. I believe that technology can and should play a part in the restaurant industry.

So wine lovers rejoice!

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