Wine Planet

Wine as it should be

Narbonne - Extraordinary success. Louis Privat offers the best Languedoc wines at the same price as wine producers in their vineyards.-

"We took an enormous leap in 2008 by deciding to sell wines at the same price as we buy them from the wine producer. From one day to the next consumption increased by 50%. We have proof that we can work better without applying excessive mark-ups to our wines” confirms Louis Privat, owner of Les Grands Buffets restaurant.
The wine list has been kept to 70 varieties in order to have the best selection possible, a range which is exclusively confined to Languedoc·. We need to present a showcase for promoting our region, and defend our wine producing terroir. There is a need to be a little bit militant" says Louis Privat. All the wines are also available by the glass.  
“We have suddenly dispensed with the carafe. Here the first price of a bottle is the equivalent of a carafe elsewhere" adds Louis Privat with this neat formula: “the carafe is a wine which anyone else can buy" : The bottles in the restaurant wine list can be bought to take away. Always production price. And if the customer buys a case of six, the bottle drunk at table is gifted to the diners.

In 2013, Les Grands Buffet sold 75,000 bottles of wines 55,000 of which were served at table to a total of almost 260, 000 diners. The restaurant was founded in 1989. The idea arose from a call to the mayoral candidate for Narbonne to create a restaurant in a leisure complex on the outskirts of town, not far from a motorway junction, including swimming pool, skating rink and bowling alley. " I immediately thought of a formula with a fixed price where customers could serve themselves. I was inspired by the buffets of Club Mediterranee which had an excellent reputation”, further underlines Louis Privat.

"Wine is a bonanza"

But this professional restaurateur, having acted in theatre when he was in his twenties, and who went on to become an expert accountant, wished to take the concept even further. "I immediately associated the idea festive produce, lobsters, langoustine, crab, foie gras and traditional brasseries and bistro dishes, kidneys, pig's trotters, spit roasted meats, cheeses from all over France, traditional patisserie, the famous desserts like our grandmothers used to make" he says.

"For me, wine is a very strong argument, but our basic work is the food.
Our clientele, which is the general public, come for the food. We then initiated them because the offer of wine is an extra bonus. This enables people to enjoy themselves whatever their budget " comments Louis Privat.
The establishment employs 90 people 30 of whom work in the kitchen and 5 in the rotisserie. "We have been copied, so we just enriched our formulas, adding more quality. Success made us push our boundaries further. That encouraged us " emphasises Louis Privat.

Bernard Degioann