01 November 2011

Table Wine Marketing and Customer Loyalty

Last week, I walked into the school office because I had some paperwork to complete, and the two guys in the office were discussing their sandwich choices for the mid-morning snack.  I think it was only about 9am.  After my first class, I had two hours break, so I went to the cafe down the street for a much-needed coffee.

The cafe was busy, it's a nice local place and I've gone there often enough that the waiter has begun to recognize me.  Apparently they also serve the best frito mallorquin in the port, which I've yet to sample, but I can vouch for their coffee and sandwiches.  Anyway, in a busy cafe, and not just this one, I'd noticed that there are half-full bottles everywhere, and then in the afternoon they live on a sideboard in the restaurant.  Same thing at the cafe on the other side of the port where I often go with colleagues from the other school where I teach. 

When I got back to school, I asked the guys in the office about this - because all over the cafe, there were open bottles of wine, and in a few cases, liquor, on the tables.  I've never seen anything like it, and how do they figure out how to pay?  As it turns out, this is a local custom that is meant to help build customer loyalty.  See, the bottle of wine, because it's just table wine (though obviously drinkable), costs maybe 2 or 3 Euro.  If they charge a Euro a glass, they'll make the cost of the bottle back fine, and it all evens out (though that attitude on a large scale may be what's causing the economic situation we're finding ourselves in here in the Mediterranean states).  The same goes for people who like to put a bit of liquor in their coffee; people like to put their own in because it makes them feel like they're trusted customers, and it all evens out and the cafe still makes a profit.

The guys in the school office compared it to the bottomless cup of coffee in American restaurants, with the interjection, "but how could you drink that stuff anyway? One cup of that and I'd be straight to the bathroom!"  Here in Mallorca, it's just snack time, a glass of table wine, and 'marketing'.

No comments: