Surviving is All About Restaurant Mathematics

The SacBee’s Chris Macias wrote a column early in January summarizing highlights of the dining scene during 2013, but he also included the lowlight of nearly three dozen restaurant closings across the Sacramento region.  Within a matter of weeks, two more highly touted and much publicized restaurants would join the likes of Blackbird and Sammy Hagar (funded with $1.5 million from the city of Roseville) in biting the dust:  Enotria and Thir13en.RM Cover

Both of the most recent fatalities were drowning in press coverage with wunderkind chefs in the kitchens who are/were the darlings of local critics.  Less than two years ago, Enotria went through a $1.8 million renovation and built large, expensive staffs in both the kitchen and the front of the house.  Thir13en’s chef made it through to the late rounds of a reality television series, and he continues to operate another restaurant in Sacramento.

What both operations came up short on was something essential to staying in business: profitability.

I’ve thought a lot about the subject of surviving in this business—one that is ultra competitive, surrenders the skinniest of margins and has scant tolerance for mistakes.  At Carpe Vino, we’ve always operated our restaurant as a business first, not as an outlet for a personal “vision” of haute cuisine, nor a quest for a Michelin star.

This reality was driven home for me during a recent visit to Chicago when I spent a couple of hours at Eataly, a two-story, restaurant and retail Mecca of all things Italian, created by celebrity chef Mario Batali, Joe Bastianich and a group of partners (including the person who pioneered the concept in Italy).  Eataly was launched in New York, and the store there grossed $80 million in its first year of operation.  Amazing.

(more…)

Reminder: We’re Closed for a Week Starting Jan 27

under-renovation.121453Immediately following the end of service on January 26, we’ll be closing for a week to repair flood damage sustained last year.  We’ll be ripping up strip flooring in the main dining room and installing new material.  The good news is we’ll also retire the carpeting in our small dining room and install strip flooring there as well.  The floor in the wine bar will be refinished at the same time.

The wine shop, wine bar and restaurant will all reopen for regular business and service starting February 4, 2014.  Because of the nature of repairs, we will not be able to fulfill Wine Club shipments or sell retail wine until all construction is completed.

Flood Damage Repairs Force Week-Long Closure

under-renovation.121453Immediately following the end of service on January 26, we’ll be closing for a week to repair flood damage sustained last year. We’ll be ripping up strip flooring in the main dining room and installing new material. The good news is we’ll also retire the carpeting in our small dining room and install strip flooring there as well. The floor in the wine bar will be refinished at the same time.

The wine shop, wine bar and restaurant will all reopen for regular business and service starting February 4, 2014. Because of the nature of repairs, we will not be able to fulfill Wine Club shipments or sell retail wine until all construction is completed.

Thanks for your patience. . . this is going to be a bummer!

I need a glass of wine,

gary

WineThing.120421

After More than a Decade, Wine Thing Still Rules

In any kind of business, durability is key to survival. And if anything in Carpe Vino’s bag of tricks fulfills this credo, it is our annual Wine Thing Mega Sale, scheduled this year for January 25 from noon till 3 p.m. We’ll have our best distributors and brokers in attendance, opening in excess of 75 different labels representing a wide range of varietals and price points.

And it’s all free and exclusive for our beloved Wine Club members.

This is our 11th year of hosting Wine Thing and the format is unchanged: Members are provided a stem for tasting (to be returned) along with a list of all wines being poured, stations and prices. . . with discounts. For your convenience, we will send an email prior to the event so you can get a head start on what we will be pouring. Taste anything you wish, but remember you must taste not drink. . . and do so responsibly.

Also, this is clearly positioned as a buying event, and the pricing structure makes it a no-brainer: our sliding discount schedule starts at 5% for any purchase, with an additional 1% for each bottle up to a maximum discount of 24% on purchases of two cases or more, mix & match. It just doesn’t get any better than this when you factor in the variety and quality of wines we’re presenting! Plus, discounts extend to most wines in stock in the store except for allocated and “best-price” wines (which still help build to the maximum discount).

Smart money doesn’t go home without ordering at least two cases.

We’ll have palate cleansers for tasters along with bottled water. Wine Thing veterans come early to beat the crowds. All three rooms and the Wine Mine will be used, so circulate to other areas to seek out less crowding.

When you are finished, simply complete your purchase form and turn it in to a Carpe Vino employee. We’ll bill your credit card on file and have your wine ready for pick up within 10 days or so. You’ll be notified by email when your order is complete!

Wine Club members only will be admitted, two per membership. . .no exceptions. If you are not currently a member, it’s not too late to join. Click here for details.

We’ll be re-setting the building in time for guests to join us for our Citrus Serenade prix-fixe dinner described in the next story. . .

Come Down To CV & Sample The Latest & Greatest!

newyearsGreetings from Carpe Vino!  Perhaps the New Year’s celebrations depleted your wine supply, so stop by Carpe Vino Saturday, and replenish your stash.  We showed you some fantastic wines for 2013, and 2014 is going to be even better.  Our Saturday complimentary wine tasting ends promptly at 4pm,  so arrive early.  (Please remember two person maximum per wine club membership.) By now you all know the drill on all the discounts, so here is what we will be pouring…

 

Prisoner Wine Company “Blindfold” White Wine (California)

blindfold white$29.95/bottle or $26.95/bottle on 6+

“Wine Advocate” Tasting Notes:  93 POINTS
“A distinctive combination of 35% Chardonnay, 20% Roussanne, 20% Viognier and small quantities of Riesling, Semillon, Marsanne and Grenache Blanc, the 2012 Blindfold is a sleeper of the vintage. Reminiscent of the Sine Qua Non whites from further south, it bursts with honeyed, caramelized white fruits, rose petals and pineapple. Medium to full-bodied with good acidity, brilliant purity and a delineation that is uncommon for a wine with so much flavor, this beauty should drink well for 2-3 years. I hope we see more blends such as this.”

Jay’s Take: “This amazing bold white blend is not for the timid! It will knock your sox off, and have you begging for more!”

buy-button.

 

 

 

Kazmer & Blaise “Boon Fly’s Hill” Chardonnay 2009 (Carneros)

kazmer chardonnay$49.50/Bottle or $35/Bottle on 6+

“Wine Advocate” Tasting Notes: 92 Points
“The 2009 Chardonnay Boon fly is soft, supple and totally beautiful. The Hungarian oak barrels add hints of spiciness and volume to the wine, yet this remains a medium-bodied, refined Chardonnay loaded with class and sheer pedigree. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2017.”

“Wine Spectator” Tasting Notes:  90 Points
“Offering a fruit bowl of aromas and flavors, this is ripe, intense, pure and focused, picking up a cedar-hazelnut-nutmeg touch on the finish that ends with an intriguing anise twist. Drink now through 2018.”

Jay’s Take: “Another fantastic chardonnay added to our Saturday line-up!  92 Points Wine Advocate, 90 Wine Spectator, and a discount of almost 30%!”  (WE CANNOT DISCLOSE THIS DISCOUNT ONLINE)

 

buy-button.104300

 

 

Belle Glos “Las Alturas” Pinot Noir 2012 (Santa Lucia Highlands)

lasalturas.113902$39.99/Bottle or CAN’T PUBLISH SIX BOTTLE PRICE

Winery Tasting Notes: “Located in one of the highest-plantable sites in the southern portion of the Santa Lucia Highlands in Monterey County known as the “Mission District.” This pristine bench offers the vineyard cool, coastal days but it enjoys warmer afternoon temperatures and tamer winds than the northern portion of the appellation. The combination of this climate with site-specific farming consistently produces pinot noirs of great texture, depth and balance.”

Jay’s Take:  “Another amazing pinot produced under the heralded Caymus Family umbrella.  This is your last chance to get this wine at a fantastic discount!”

buy-button.104300

 

 

 

 

 

Canoe Ridge “The Expedition” Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 (Horse Heaven Hills, WA)

expedition Cab$15.99/bottle or $13.99/bottle on 6+

Winery Tasting Notes: “Spiced floral and blackberry aromas lead to layered, juicy flavors of red currant, smoky plum, savory cherry and a hint dusty chocolate. Polished texture and tannin balance leads to a deep velvety finish.”

Jay’s Take: “This is a perfect daily drinker!  A cabernet of this quality and discount is hard to beat!”

buy-button.104300

 

 

 

As usual, we will have a bonus bottle to delight your senses, but you must show up to find out what that is.  If you have any questions…feel free to contact me at your earliestconvenience by replying to this email or calling me at 530-823-0320 x105.

Also, if you can’t make Saturday’s tasting but want to purchase some of these wines…feel free to use our online order site and enter “JayJ” in the Order Notes Section to make sure you receive the best discounts available.  Hope to see you here!

Cheers,

Jay

More information
Carpe Vino (Find Us) 1568 Lincoln Way Auburn, CA 95603
Phone Number: 530-823-0320
Get Directions to Carpe Vino
Retail/Wine Bar Hours Tuesday - Saturday
Noon - 10:00 p.m.
Closed: Sunday and Monday
Dining Hours Tuesday - Saturday
5:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.
Closed: Sunday and Monday
Make A Reservation Guests must be 21 years of age or older.
Reservations are suggested for preferred seating, especially on weekends.