SmartCellar Uses 'At-The-Table Technology' to Enhance Wine Experience in Restaurants
The creators of SmartCellarSM debuted their revolutionary new technology that allows fine diners to make wine selections from an Apple® iPad® industry-wide at the National Restaurant Association Show in Chicago this week.
SmartCellar developer Incentient, LLC, says it is the worldwide leader in “at-the-table technology,” and, as such, is dramatically changing the wine experience for customers, sommeliers/wine directors, and restaurateurs in fine dining establishments in eight countries. Some of the world’s leading restaurateurs are already using the product, including Tony May, Gordon Ramsay, Wolfgang Puck, José Andrés, Michael Symon and Umberto Gibin.
Rather than a traditional printed list, SmartCellar allows customers to browse a restaurant’s wine selection using the device’s easy-to-understand touch-pad links, searching for wines by name, region, varietal and price. The device can also include premium liquors, beers, specialty cocktails, food pairings, menu items or just about any other element of an establishment’s food and beverage lineup.
“In addition to improving the overall food and beverage experience,” Incentient founder and CEO Pat Martucci said, “SmartCellar is also a winning proposition for restaurateurs. Our unique at-the-table technology is engaging customers and increasing sales in a way that has never been done before. Early adopters of SmartCellar are reporting that wine sales alone have increased by up to 25 percent.”
SmartCellar operates wirelessly on a secure intranet installed through an onsite server. The dynamic technology can operate in any size restaurant or bar (both indoors and out) and is customized to each individual establishment – including logo, colors, style and imagery – reinforcing the restaurant’s uniqueness among users. The best part: SmartCellar requires no upfront capital investment. Incentient owns, installs, services and warranties all equipment and leases the touchscreen units to individual restaurants.
“This new tool is not just a boon to a restaurant’s technology arsenal. It’s also fast becoming a marketing tool because it can reflect graphics and messages that are important to building a strong brand,” said Incentient Senior Vice President Jennifer Martucci. “We’ve even had customers ask us to place links to their Facebook pages and Twitter accounts right on the device.”
SmartCellar is completely scalable, giving each restaurant the choice to include as much or as little information about their wine selection on the device. Because SmartCellar updates are made in real-time, a restaurant’s list is always accurate. It also helps owners make their restaurants more sustainable by eliminating paper and other materials traditionally needed for printed lists.
According to Umberto Gibin, owner of Barbacco and Perbacco in San Francisco, SmartCellar sets the stage for sommeliers to engage in a higher quality, table-wide discussion with their customers. “It makes the staff’s job easier because half the questions are answered by the device, the other half can be answered by staff,” he said. “And if you add a description of the wine, a profile of the producer, the region – even a map – then it creates dialogue among guests and with the staff. It’s a very, very useful tool.”
The technology also offers backend advantages to restaurant owners. The dedicated, onsite server is password protected and can be only be updated or changed by restaurant administrators. It has reporting functions that provide detailed data to manage and monitor what is selling and the wines that guests are ordering most. It also conveniently offers translation into 150 languages.
Incentient is one of the only companies that Apple has allowed to reprogram the iPad for the customization of its new SmartCellar hardware. The company was recognized by Fast Company as 29th of 101 Apple-affiliated Achievers for its work using Apple-based technologies that are changing our lives, our work and our world.
“I believe that SmartCellar is just a glimpse of the future of our industry,” said renowned restaurateur Tony May from his office at New York’s SD26, a tri-level restaurant on Madison Square Park North showcasing contemporary Italian cuisine and the next generation in fine dining. “It began with a wine list, but more and more information can be featured on this unique device, and it can be connected to the establishment’s POS system. The uses are limited only by our imaginations.”
SmartCellar can be found in well-known restaurants both in North America and overseas, including Wolfgang Puck’s Cut in Las Vegas; The Four Seasons Hotel in New York; José Andrés’ Jaleo at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas; Tony May’s SD26 in New York; Gordon Ramsay’s Claridges in London; Maze and Maze Grill in London; Southgate at Jumeirah Essex House in New York; Calistoga Ranch and Auberge Resort in the Upper Napa Valley; Gotham Steak at The Fontainebleau in Miami; Barbacco in San Francisco; and The Moorings in Newport, Rhode Island.