Nao is a Latin fusion restaurant on the Culinary Institute of America campus in San Antonio, TX.
A CIA success story with iWineLists

For a restaurant dedicated to great wine and great food, but also to education, Nao has found a perfect fit with AccuBar’s iWineLists digital menu.

The contemporary Latin-inspired restaurant on the campus of the Culinary Institute of America in San Antonio has seen broad acceptance of the iPad menus by their customers and staff, and has even seen a slow growth of wine sales since deploying the list in May. So says Samantha Burgess, instructor of hospitality and service management. “Having the iWineList available for both guests and students to learn additional information about beverages offered has been instrumental in further educating all that come through the restaurant doors.”

Samantha was put in charge of building a list of 182 wines that could be an educational tool for the student-run restaurant. With the students only spending 12 weeks running the restaurant before a new group takes over, product knowledge has always been a challenge, but iWineLists has been a good answer — even for Burgess herself. “I, as the instructor, use the iWineList daily during our pre-service meetings,” she said. “Each day I sample 1-2 of our beverages (cocktails, cordials and beers included) to the current class of servers. The student servers use the iWineList both as a prompt of information during class, and even on their mobile device outside of the classroom and restaurant for furthering their knowledge.”

I, as the instructor, use the iWineList daily during our pre-service meetings.

Samantha was originally tasked with building a list that just included wine, but she has since broadened the mission. “[AccuBar Support Manager Sheri Larsen] was so fantastic with working with the developers to help modify the framework of the existing beverage list to include what we have now — wine, beer, signature cocktails, spirits, cordials and non alcoholic items,” she said.

The switch to the digital wine list has been received well. The students love it, she said, but guests have offered mixed reviews. “About 80-90% of our guests love the interaction of the iPad. The rest just don’t care for the ‘fancy technology’ and prefer a paper menu.” Fortunately, iWineLists supports paper menus as well without the double entry and extra work that is usually required.

Samantha is looking forward to using another feature of the system: creating a QR code so diners can access the menu with their own phones and tablets. She added that the students often help diners make use of the program’s ability to email the details of a wine to themselves so they can remember a wine they liked.