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Maurice DiMarino on How To Sell Private Label Programs To Restaurant Groups

Photo for: Maurice DiMarino on How To Sell Private Label Programs To Restaurant Groups

Maurice, in a conversation with Sid Patel on The Wine Whiskey Weed Show, shares tips on how to sell private label programs and what restaurant groups seek from suppliers.


As the Beverage Director for the Cohn Restaurant Group, Maurice DiMarino oversees the beverage program for 26 restaurants in San Diego, Long Beach, and Maui. He teaches several of the wine intensive courses in the Business of Wine at the World Campus of San Diego State University.

1) How can suppliers of private labels understand the inside scoop to know what companies are after? 

Keep an eye out for the RFP (Request for Proposal) from the company as it can provide valuable insights into a company’s operations and preferences. Maurice explains that he categorizes restaurants into different tiers based on their volume requirements, which can help suppliers determine their position and potential opportunities. 

Tip for suppliers: Build connections with the company and create a value-driven experience to establish long-term partnerships.


2) How do suppliers make meaningful contributions? 

According to Maurice, current suppliers have access to the yearly marketing activities of the company and then they can select where they feel they can contribute the best. On the other hand, the new suppliers can ensure that they recommend new ideas and bring something unique to the table. 

3) What are the pre-qualification criteria? 

Ensure you have a variety of products to have multiple items to choose from. Importers who offer wines from diverse regions such as Europe or South America also gain an advantage as the restaurants then can place these wines in different areas. While predicting the future can be challenging, suppliers need to maintain a steady supply. 

4) How to make a good impression in the first meeting? 

Know your product: Maurice mentions that he dislikes when the suppliers don’t know about the product that they are selling. 

Bring in people from your company: Having people that hold different positions helps to get a better clarity into the inner workings of your organization.

Make a short crisp presentation that includes your gap analysis, the cost structure and support programs providing an overall view. 

5) What are the current challenges faced by Private Labels in 2023?

Distributors might not be on the same page with suppliers, not picking up things when they are supposed to be picked up, miscommunication within the label company and difficulties in maintaining client relationships. 

6) What wine varieties are expected to be in higher demand from customers this year? 

The Albariño, French, French and Spanish Grenache, and Rome varietals are definitely on the list of more asked-for wines of 2023. In Spirits, Tequila is on the rise while non-alcoholic spirits are emerging as a new trend that Maurice notices. 

If you want to improve your private label sales strategy, the best thing to do is to tune in to the video and start listening!

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