Total Wine & More Reviews | Glassdoor

Total Wine & More Reviews

Updated July 19, 2018
634 reviews

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2.6
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Tom Haubenstricker
21 Ratings

634 Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • "Really interesting environment; you will learn all you ever wanted to know about wine, beer and spirits" (in 27 reviews)

  • "Get to learn a lot more about alcohol, and not just about getting drunk" (in 18 reviews)

Cons
  • "Schedules are made without much consideration for work/life balance" (in 58 reviews)

  • "Minimum 50 hour work week for managers with only 30 minute break (if lucky) each day" (in 28 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. Helpful (3)

    "The opportunity to grow and have fun"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Wine Associate in Seattle, WA
    Current Employee - Wine Associate in Seattle, WA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Total Wine & More full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Coming from a wine background, I was quite please at the opportunity to learn more about beer and spirits. The company's vast selection and numerous opportunities to try new things is a huge positive. I've discovered a great love of Belgian style beers, Tequila and Single Malt Scotch from working here.

    With wine training, it is what you make of it. The company is committed to giving employees the tools they need to succeed but it is ultimately up to each individual employee to decide if they want to utilize these tools to their full potential.

    The company offers wine associates "Wine for Life" which for the first year of employment is a set list of 6-12 bottles an employee on the service team can take home (free of charge). After that first year, the employee has more flexibility in picking what wines they want to take home (within certain guidelines) with TWPs (Total Wine Professionals who have passed 7 levels of certifications) having the most flexibility and access to higher end wines to take home. With this Wine For Life program, employees have a tremendous opportunity to expand their wine knowledge by actually tasting wines that they may not have the financial means to regularly taste.

    More ambitious souls can utilize their Total Wine business cards and connections to attend free trade events put on by wine commissions, distributors and local wineries (ask your Store Manager and District Manager about invitations to these events). The company also helps set up visits to wineries across the globe if you are traveling (on your on dime). I've had the opportunity to dine with winery owners of classified chateaux in Bordeaux and Piedmont all because of Total Wine and I'm just a simple Wine Associate.

    The opportunity is always there. Earning your TWP opens even more doors to company paid trips to wine regions, attending (free of charge) events like the Union des Grand Cru of Bordeaux where you can meet even more Chateau owners and taste, in one evening, over $5000 worth of wine. Likewise you can get free tickets to events like the Wine Spectator Grand Tasting where, again, the amount and quality level of the wines you can taste is fantastic.

    Cons

    First and foremost, its retail and has all the cons and pratfalls of working with the public and customer service. You are always underpaid, constantly on your feet, working long hours, dealing with sometimes frustrating customers and have to make sales goals and customer service metrics. Some people are cut out for this line of work. Some aren't.

    Likewise, as with all retail companies, the particular culture of a store (and a district) will vary. Some stores have more fun and inclusive cultures that promote better morale. Some stores struggle with it. All you have to do is read the reviews on the site like this to see that it is a mix bag of what kind of working experience you may have. But, again, that is retail and Total Wine is not unique in that regard.

    Some of the inventory and receiving systems are very antiquated by retail sector with redundant paperwork. It's a work in progress but I always pity receivers and managers with the systems.

    Advice to Management

    As an employee, I have a lengthy list of "Pros" because I've been fortunate to work in a store and district with a fantastic culture that encourages growth and good employee moral. To some degree that was luck of the draw but a goal of management should be to minimize the amount of "luck" that there is and encourage this kind of positive culture in all markets.

    Another reason for my lengthy Pros is the type of person I am. I am an ambitious person who seeks out wine knowledge and opportunity to learn more and maximize these tools. Some of my peers don't have the same ambition or confidence but it is in the best interest of Total Wine & More's customer to try and stoke the fires of ambition and thirst to learn.

    Losing "Alfio training" in Old World has hurt (but I know some markets are cobbling together their own version) as well as going from monthly MSM training meetings to now 5 or 6 times a year. The quality level and efficiency of product training during those MSM has been reduced--especially in markets with rapid growth. Often these meetings seem to be more about herding cats and power tasting through a rapid fire of wines without taking the time to really learn and discuss how to know what kind of customers would best enjoy these kinds of wines.

    Finally, while the company does a fantastic job in promoting small family wineries and unique labels with their Winery Direct program, the company absolutely needs to make it a focus to have more training and tasting on large, well-known brands. When a customer comes in saying that they like "Brand XYZ", it is vital for the associate to know what Brand XYZ taste like in order to best serve the customer with other recommendations. While, as I noted in my Pros, ambitious folks can use their connections and business cards to visit these wineries and attend trade tastings, it is in Total Wine's best interest not to have this kind of knowledge just limited to the ambitious.


  2. "Cashier"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Cashier in Reno, NV
    Current Employee - Cashier in Reno, NV
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Total Wine & More part-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Exceptional place to work in Reno

    Cons

    Not really any cons at the store in Reno

    Advice to Management

    Exceptional Management , listens to their employees

  3. "The perfect retail environment"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Assistant Manager in Charlotte, NC
    Current Employee - Assistant Manager in Charlotte, NC
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

    I have been working at Total Wine & More full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    The environment is one of the best I’ve experienced in my 20+ years in retail/hospitality. Lots of opportunity for advancement that is nurtured by upper management when you draw out your path.

    Cons

    The starting pay isn’t very competitive. I took a pay cut by going from a 40 hour/week management position to 47-49/week at Total Wine. 401K (50% match up to 6%) is a bit light compared to other leading retailers.

    Advice to Management

    Fix compensation (most levels bumped up July 2018), reward stretch assignments with off cycle raises or bonuses, revisit benefits again (small positive changes made July 2018), and drop 50 hour expectations for hourly ASMs, WMs and Supervisors, creating a better work/life balance. Don’t force leaders of the store to work 50 hours to provide. Up the pay.


  4. "Total wine and more"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Merchandiser in Selma, TX
    Current Employee - Merchandiser in Selma, TX
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook

    I have been working at Total Wine & More full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Pay is better than other retail stores.

    Cons

    Workload isn’t spread out evenly

    Advice to Management

    Workload needs to be figured out fairly


  5. "Total Wine"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Assistant Manager in Laurel, MD
    Current Employee - Assistant Manager in Laurel, MD
    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Total Wine & More full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Ability to be entrepreneurial and creative.

    Cons

    Young Company, learning how to grow

    Advice to Management

    Lead through Development and Engagement


  6. "Growing Company"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Buyer in Bethesda, MD
    Former Employee - Buyer in Bethesda, MD
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Total Wine & More full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    It's great to work for a company that is prospering.

    Cons

    None to speak of. Carry on.

    Advice to Management

    Keep doing what you do.


  7. "Total Wine & More leadership failures"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Total Wine & More full-time

    Pros

    Wine for life program, PTO, matching 401(k.), opportunities for continued learning through free structured educational programs.

    Cons

    I am appalled by the lack of continuity each and every day. There are no set guidelines for operations. No one knows what to do because the rules change from week to week, sometimes because different members of management see things differently but most commonly because a newly established policy has become inconvenient for the execution of tasks on any given day. There is no enforcement of company policy unless it becomes convenient to enforce something as it applies to a given individual. A new employee handbook was recently implemented and all employees had to sign off on it. Various modifications and improvements had been added, virtually all of which were ignored. Employees are left dangling between something they signed and something that is routinely unenforced. Hourly members of management are routinely late five to ten minutes for work virtually every day so it becomes impossible to demand compliance from staff. Hourly managers are constantly walking off the floor and hiding in back rooms and dark corners to check their phones and this goes on constantly. Members of staff who do their jobs and take pride in their work watch slackers all around them go without behavioral modification. Employees doing all the work get no satisfaction from approaching management about those not doing their jobs. In fact they get humiliated when a manager goes back to those not doing their jobs and they all get a good laugh about it. It is a known fact that employees want and need firm operational rules and guidelines. Without these guidelines your good people will eventually resign to the "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em" mode of behavior and you increase the size of non-productivity in a store that already has far too much of it. District management has no interest in internal promotion. This has been an ongoing issue and despite claims to the contrary highly qualified employees are routinely bypassed in the promotion process in lieu of incredibly unqualified middle management from big boxes. A department head from a home improvement store has a better chance of becoming a department head in a Total Wine & More store than an employee who has 3-5 years of experience and has also passed seven very difficult exams to achieve their top level of expertise within the company. This happens routinely and it results in bad decisions, particularly within the realm of product management. The company means well. It has various methods of ensuring employee recognition but they are not executed properly, if at all. The company wants employees to be informed as to daily issues but it requires management execution and the ball is dropped entirely. Many of the day to day operations are pencil whipped so it will appear as though things are running smoothly in the event of a district or corporate visitor checking up on things. There are smoke screens everywhere you look intended to mislead those who might insist on proper execution.

    Advice to Management

    Enforcement of the company policies as written. Insistance of leadership by example. Internal promotions of their qualified employees. Insistence of high productivity in order to properly achieve completion of tasks, which will eliminate the need to pencil whip documents and will also produce a dedicated and motivated staff. With these pieces in place the store will be a better place to work as well as a better place to shop. District insistence of compliance would be a very good place to start.

  8. "Good office work experience"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Communications Associate in Bethesda, MD
    Former Employee - Communications Associate in Bethesda, MD
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Total Wine & More full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    -Great discount in all the stores
    -Increasingly better 401k options
    -Good manager in my division helped make sense of this rapidly growing company
    -Fairly relaxed work environment, folks are generally pretty nice
    -Bowing league
    -Frank from the café downstairs is a good guy

    Cons

    -Lower PTO than expected
    -Office is a pain to get to via public transit, difficult if you live in DC.
    - A big company that’s growing so quickly stuff gets missed and store teams can feel alienated
    -Despite being competent, it is important to note that the highest level of senior leadership is nearly entirely white and male

    Advice to Management

    All things considered, this was a good place to work and I will miss working there. HR is aware of where the company needs to grow. Listen to them.


  9. "Great company"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    Pros

    -if you show interest in wanting to learn stuff they will gladly help you learn it

    Cons

    - lack of upward mobility


  10. Helpful (3)

    "Want to love this job but can't"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend

    I have been working at Total Wine & More full-time

    Pros

    Educational, free wine and beer, fun

    Cons

    terrible pay
    50+ hr weeks for regular full time employees
    very little time for personal life
    high turnover rate


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