A Certified Sommelier, Smith uses that expertise to match the 5Church beverage menus to the caliber of what executive chef Jamie Lynch is doing in the kitchen. She also aims to build excitement and increase knowledge among her staff about the wines, beers and cocktails so that guests can become equally as enthusiastic about what they are drinking.
“The education aspect of my role is what’s most important to me,” says Smith, who sends out a weekly lesson plan to managers that staff are then tested on each week. “I spend time behind the bar with my staff every day, and I have an open door policy to encourage them to come up with their own cocktail ideas. I enjoy inspiring bartenders to want to become mixologists, getting them interested in wine and giving them the tools to be successful.”
Smith garners inspiration for her beverage programs by connecting with guests and figuring out how she can meet their needs. With completely different clientele in each of 5Church’s locations, she puts a great deal of emphasis on understanding these markets and individualizing each beverage program accordingly. “Our guests have come to appreciate that our cocktails are straightforward but very well thought out. Keeping each restaurant’s specialty cocktail selection distinctive is extremely important to us,” Smith says.