Why I Started SipSend

Why I Started SipSend

When those we care about are going through tough times, it is only natural to wonder: What can I do, how can I help? As the U.S. watched Covid wash across Europe, in disbelief, shock, and confusion, restaurant reservations in our major cities plummeted. Conventions and corporate meetings in private dining rooms were cancelled. Initially this was done out of an abundance of caution. As the threat of the deadly virus became more apparent and more real, social gatherings of all kinds were postponed, too. For those of us in the restaurant industry or connected to the restaurant industry, this all seemed like an unnecessary overreaction. How were we supposed to survive without our most profitable revenue streams flowing as before? After all, private events and large-group dining have fueled the success of many big city restaurants for years. Little did we know that these cancellations were just the beginning.

Even once Shelter-In-Place restrictions were implemented in San Francisco, then elsewhere, the brutal challenge facing restaurants seemed temporary. As the weeks dragged into months, however, it became clear that the world in which we live, and the world in which we dine, had changed forever. High-end restaurants were now featured prominently next to fast-casual chains on food delivery apps, paying big commissions on their creative, but pricey, to-go menu items. The California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control granted relief measures, allowing restaurants to offer beer, wine, and even cocktails to go and for delivery as well. It rapidly became possible to enjoy a beautiful, chef-prepared meal in the comfort of your own home, an ideal option for birthdays and other occasions that continue to happen during the pandemic. But for me, something important was missing from this experience.

Having worked in the service industry for over fifteen years, I know that nights off are almost sacred times to unwind. While I’ve always taken immense pride in the service of others, it’s also really, really nice to sit down on the other side, and enjoy the experience delivered by those with equal passion for our craft. I am a sommelier, but when I dine out, reading a wine list is sometimes the last thing I want to do. It is so much easier to have someone else pick for me, someone who knows their wine selections personally and has experience pairing them with specific dishes. I thought, what if we could bring to the home the technical know-how and devotion to hospitality of the sommelier experience?

By offering a range of wines from some of San Francisco’s best restaurants, SipSend has a wine for every palate. You are free to engage with a live sommelier via our unique Ask A Somm feature, or alternatively pick for yourself from a selection of wines curated by some of the city’s top somms. SipSend also allows you to book a virtual wine chat for later on that same evening, the perfect chance to learn as you enjoy, without the commitment of booking more formal virtual wine tastings available elsewhere.

Most important of all, perhaps, is the fact that SipSend provides restaurants the ability to re-engage with wine drinkers as they look to replace a crucial revenue stream in their business model. Selling wine on demand generates quick cash flow without the labor associated with preparing food. With SipSend, I wanted to try to do something helpful for a group of people who have helped me throughout my career. I hope you enjoy the services we offer.