Winelists vs BYOB (morphed from BYOB Airing/Decanting Before Restaurant Dining)

Folks

As you know, many wines need significant airing or decanting. However, most restaurants that will allow you to BYOW will not allow obviously pre-openned bottles. There is a solution.

My solution has been to obtain push in corks (the ones with the wider plastic tops and cork bottoms) and slip on capsules (which can be heat shrunk onto the bottle). The preceding is available from any bottle your own wine shop. Actual corks and lever driven corking machines are also available to the consumer, and produce a more asthetic result, but simple plastic topped corks are sufficient for this purpose.

I then decant the wine to taste, rebottle and (if a fragile wine) add argon to the bottle. I then cork, pop on the capsule and shrink/seal with a heat gun (although a hot hair dryer might work).

And voila! A perfectly sealed bottle that your favorite restaurant would be legally happy to open for you.

Very helpful when there is insufficient airing or decant time (or proper decanters) at the restaurant.

Just a thought!

Jhcolman

I have enjoyed great health at a great age because everyday since I can remember I have consumed a bottle of wine except when I have not felt well. Then I have consumed two bottles. - Bishop of Seville
Original Post
I go to some BYO places that don't even ask to open my wines. They just ask me if I need a corkscrew and "nice" glasses. I bring my own, so no need. Thus, if I have a wine that needs air, I double decant earlier in the day.

For other places that are more picky, I sometimes call ahead and ask if I can bring it already opened, and explain why. Usually no problem, as long as I'm willing to pay the corkage.

For other places that are super finicky, I make sure they have a decanter available and open it as soon as we're seated.

Your solution might work, but I've never needed to be that sneaky. Of course, Canada might be a very different beast than Hawaii ))
The only time this became an issue I waiting until enough other folks (and bottles) showed up and then sneaked in the pre-opened bottle. Since then, I've always asked the restaurant before bringing a pre-decanted bottle and then either selected a different restaurant (if within my control) or a different bottle.
jhcolman,

You're idea is great, but I have never had an issue with a pre-opened bottle at a restaurant. California's pretty corkage friendly general, so maybe it's a regional issue.

I did, however, run into an issue with a wine that I brought that was already on a restaurant's list (even the same vintage). The Somm tried to be snooty about it, exclaiming that "Normally, we would charge the list price as the corkage." When I responded by saying, "Normally, respectable restaurants publish their wine list online to avoid this," that was all I heard of it.
quote:
Originally posted by haggis:
I go to some BYO places that don't even ask to open my wines. They just ask me if I need a corkscrew and "nice" glasses. I bring my own, so no need. Thus, if I have a wine that needs air, I double decant earlier in the day.

For other places that are more picky, I sometimes call ahead and ask if I can bring it already opened, and explain why. Usually no problem, as long as I'm willing to pay the corkage.

For other places that are super finicky, I make sure they have a decanter available and open it as soon as we're seated.

Your solution might work, but I've never needed to be that sneaky. Of course, Canada might be a very different beast than Hawaii ))


I've found the approach Haggis outlined above to work. There are enough restaurants in Toronto that do corkage, and are accommodating, that if they were sticklers on the 'pre-opened' point, I'd take my business elsewhere.

The other point is that when bringing a pre-opened bottle (double decanted at home), it is usually on an night when we have many bottles to open. On those occasions, I've never seen a restaurant balk at a capsule that has been removed.
quote:
Originally posted by GregT:
Never had any problem but maybe things are different in Toronto? I'm not surprised there are rules like that somewhere. Too bad people have to go thru all that just to have a glass of wine. Cripes.

yea i agree
i've got my flask for those times i just can't wait ;-)
quote:
Originally posted by GregT:
Never had any problem but maybe things are different in Toronto? I'm not surprised there are rules like that somewhere. Too bad people have to go thru all that just to have a glass of wine. Cripes.


I do not know how widespread this issue is. The Toronto restaurant in question told me that BYOB requires a special Provincial license and that this licence requires that bottles be sealed when brought to the restaurant. They are otherwise a favourite local haunt of ours, so my approach skirts that issue.

I also recall an offline, wherein the owner or sommelier said "I'll just pretend that I openned that bottle for you".

Does anyone know the actual Provinvial regulations around this? Just curious.

Thanks

jhcolman
quote:
Originally posted by jhcolman:


I do not know how widespread this issue is. The Toronto restaurant in question told me that BYOB requires a special Provincial license and that this licence requires that bottles be sealed when brought to the restaurant. They are otherwise a favourite local haunt of ours, so my approach skirts that issue.

I also recall an offline, wherein the owner or sommelier said "I'll just pretend that I openned that bottle for you".

Does anyone know the actual Provinvial regulations around this? Just curious.

Thanks

jhcolman




The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario has a pretty informative website, with lots of explanatory FAQs for the Liquor License Act. Here's the relevant one, under "Bring Your Own Wine:"

For BYOW, only commercially-made wine is permitted to be brought onto the licensed premises by patrons. Wine brought onto the premises by the patron must be unopened (i.e., manufacturer seal not broken). No homemade wine or wine made at a ferment on premise facility is permitted.

We have pretty much the same rules in BC, perhaps even a bit more stringent. I'm grateful enough just to be able to bring a bottle of wine with me to dinner these days, and wouldn't do anything to compromise a restaurant's situation after being allowed what really is a very recent and welcome privilege for us.
Wow. That pretty much eliminates advance decanting entirely. We decant in advance about 1/2 the time.

The whole reason many people want to bring their own is because it might be older, which means it might have sediment, etc. So they are supposed to shake it up on the trip?

Wine laws are stupid the world over it seems. Too bad.

But you're right - you don't want to compromise the place by flouting the rule.
quote:
Originally posted by GregT:
Wow. That pretty much eliminates advance decanting entirely. We decant in advance about 1/2 the time.

The whole reason many people want to bring their own is because it might be older, which means it might have sediment, etc. So they are supposed to shake it up on the trip?

Wine laws are stupid the world over it seems. Too bad.

But you're right - you don't want to compromise the place by flouting the rule.


Greg, when it comes to stupid liquor laws, I can proudly state that my country takes a back seat to no one! NO one!

I wish I could still say the same for hockey. Smile
quote:
Originally posted by GregT:
Wow. That pretty much eliminates advance decanting entirely. We decant in advance about 1/2 the time.

The whole reason many people want to bring their own is because it might be older, which means it might have sediment, etc. So they are supposed to shake it up on the trip?

Wine laws are stupid the world over it seems. Too bad.

But you're right - you don't want to compromise the place by flouting the rule.


And I thought that prohibition had been quashed decades ago. Time for some lobbying to eridicate the last vestiges of Puritanism from governments.

We really do need to work harder to break down all these silly wine regs.

In the mean time, either early decanting at the restaurant or proper resealing of the bottle at home should keep our restaurant friends out of trouble.

Cheers

Julian
quote:
Originally posted by Seaquam:
quote:
Originally posted by jhcolman:


I do not know how widespread this issue is. The Toronto restaurant in question told me that BYOB requires a special Provincial license and that this licence requires that bottles be sealed when brought to the restaurant. They are otherwise a favourite local haunt of ours, so my approach skirts that issue.

I also recall an offline, wherein the owner or sommelier said "I'll just pretend that I openned that bottle for you".

Does anyone know the actual Provinvial regulations around this? Just curious.

Thanks

jhcolman




The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario has a pretty informative website, with lots of explanatory FAQs for the Liquor License Act. Here's the relevant one, under "Bring Your Own Wine:"

For BYOW, only commercially-made wine is permitted to be brought onto the licensed premises by patrons. Wine brought onto the premises by the patron must be unopened (i.e., manufacturer seal not broken). No homemade wine or wine made at a ferment on premise facility is permitted.

We have pretty much the same rules in BC, perhaps even a bit more stringent. I'm grateful enough just to be able to bring a bottle of wine with me to dinner these days, and wouldn't do anything to compromise a restaurant's situation after being allowed what really is a very recent and welcome privilege for us.

When BYO was first introduced in Ontario, restaurants were very careful to observe the exact terms of the regulation. However, things have become much more relaxed in the past 2 years and bringing (as well as taking home) recorked wines doesn't seem to be an issue in the restaurants I go to nowadays.

However, you still need to ask and not be presumptious in case the restaurant owner is skittish about doing this.
quote:
Originally posted by jhcolman:
quote:
Originally posted by GregT:
Wow. That pretty much eliminates advance decanting entirely. We decant in advance about 1/2 the time.

The whole reason many people want to bring their own is because it might be older, which means it might have sediment, etc. So they are supposed to shake it up on the trip?

Wine laws are stupid the world over it seems. Too bad.

But you're right - you don't want to compromise the place by flouting the rule.


And I thought that prohibition had been quashed decades ago. Time for some lobbying to eridicate the last vestiges of Puritanism from governments.

We really do need to work harder to break down all these silly wine regs.

In the mean time, either early decanting at the restaurant or proper resealing of the bottle at home should keep our restaurant friends out of trouble.

Cheers

Julian

When you look at most states, I don't think the current BYOB laws are vestiges of Puritanism as much as they are designed to help the economy or the restaurant biz, depending on how you look at it. I mean, the entire state of MA doesn't allow BYOB and that's not really what I would consider a puritanical state. It's a state that tries to squeeze every last dime out of you with tolls, taxes, etc., but they're not prudish about alcohol.

You know, just out of curiosity...when people BYOB, is it more because you don't want to pay for the wine in a restaurant? Or more because you have a special bottle that the restaurant can't provide? I've heard people say both and I've always wondered which was more prevalent.
quote:
Originally posted by Rob_Sutherland:
I've had a restaurant raise the issue (I told them that I was BYOBing but not that it would be opened) They gave me grief but didn't refuse the bottle.

Easy answer though it the same one the butler uses. Ah-So.


Ah so and a replacement heat shrunk capsule.

Never tried ah-so to put a cork back in a bottle. Does it work? Easily?

jhcolman
Bdxforwine;

I never bring a bottle of white to a restaurant BYOB, only reds. KY allows BYOB and I will occasionally bring reds for a couple of reasons:

1. The wine list sucks but the food is good;
2. The red wines on the list are all very young, < 3 years old, and need extensive decanting.

I will choose the wine I want to take and decant it at home, to my tastes, and pour back into the bottle. I might double decant at the restaurant, but typically not.

I refuse to pay big bucks for a wine in a restaurant that is wound up tigher than a rubber band upon opening and that may only show tannins for the first hour+. I want the wine to compliment the meal, not do battle with it!
quote:
Originally posted by Bordeaux4Wino:
quote:
Originally posted by jhcolman:
quote:
Originally posted by GregT:
Wow. That pretty much eliminates advance decanting entirely. We decant in advance about 1/2 the time.

The whole reason many people want to bring their own is because it might be older, which means it might have sediment, etc. So they are supposed to shake it up on the trip?

Wine laws are stupid the world over it seems. Too bad.

But you're right - you don't want to compromise the place by flouting the rule.


And I thought that prohibition had been quashed decades ago. Time for some lobbying to eridicate the last vestiges of Puritanism from governments.

We really do need to work harder to break down all these silly wine regs.

In the mean time, either early decanting at the restaurant or proper resealing of the bottle at home should keep our restaurant friends out of trouble.

Cheers

Julian

When you look at most states, I don't think the current BYOB laws are vestiges of Puritanism as much as they are designed to help the economy or the restaurant biz, depending on how you look at it. I mean, the entire state of MA doesn't allow BYOB and that's not really what I would consider a puritanical state. It's a state that tries to squeeze every last dime out of you with tolls, taxes, etc., but they're not prudish about alcohol.

You know, just out of curiosity...when people BYOB, is it more because you don't want to pay for the wine in a restaurant? Or more because you have a special bottle that the restaurant can't provide? I've heard people say both and I've always wondered which was more prevalent.


I BYOB because of:

- poor or insufficient selection

- ultra high pricing on better bottles, especially older bottles

- my desire to bring a special bottle

If more restaurants in Toronto had better selection at decent prices, I'd be inclined to buy their wine. Sadly, many restaurants choose their wine lists poorly. I do not seek marque or expensive wines, just decent QPR.
quote:
You know, just out of curiosity...when people BYOB, is it more because you don't want to pay for the wine in a restaurant? Or more because you have a special bottle that the restaurant can't provide? I've heard people say both and I've always wondered which was more prevalent.

Kind of both. If I have an older bottle, I usually didn't buy it in the current market. I don't want to pay the full retail mark up in any case, much less for something with some age. I have a bottle that I paid $15 for and I have to pay someone $90?

That's reason one. But more likely, it's because we're going to drink something that they don't have or want to do a selection of wines from a particular region/vintage/winemaker, and sometimes both. I take winemakers out from time to time and want to show them things that they might not get, or want to show their wines to other people. I'm not going to go into a restaurant with a bottle of Columbia Crest. I may go in with a bottle that's not imported or a bottle that is older than what they're going to have.

Tomorrow I'm probably going to go out with a few friends and I'll show them some wine that they'll never get in the US - it was never imported and the vintages go back a few years. Normally I'd do it at home but it's a weeknight and it's a long trip for them and I don't have any time to cook so we'll just go out.

Only time it backfired was when we went into a place and the guy said it was OK as long as we didn't have anything on his list. Fine, we said, and pulled out a 1973 Spanish wine. Well now, he said, and showed us that very wine on his list.

He got a bigger kick out of our stupefied expressions than he would have had we ordered his wine, so he laughed and brought us some great glasses and hung out with us and tasted our wine thru the evening.
Thanks for the various perspectives. I was just curious.
I never get snooty with BYOBers and I am always gracious about it.
I never even give people a hard time about previously opened bottles or even if someone brings in a bottle that I have on the list....as happened over this past weekend when someone brought a 2006 Turley Dusi, which I DID have on my list. I just noted that he had a great wine...not a word more. I do charge what some might think to be a hefty corkage ($25), but I even waive that if the guest proceeds to then buy something else off the list.
I am however frustrated and maybe just amused by it sometimes. I totally understand bringing a bottle of that special, hard-to-find wine. But often, that's not what I see. I work hard to offer a list that includes around 1400 selections at a Relais & Chateau and I've seen people, who are paying maybe $1500/night for a room, go out to a wine store and bring back a $25 bottle of Mollydooker Maitre 'D and I'm thinking, with the corkage, that's $50 and I could have found you something really nice in that price point off the list. I just believe in supporting our wine programs out there too...right?
For instance, there's a regular from the Boston area who vacations here a lot and he loves me to work my magic for him. He's the best kind of guest--always wanting to try something he hasn't had and with deep pockets. He always orders a white and a red. So, I've poured stuff like Aubert and Peter Michael Les Pavots...you get the picture. He loves it! I've known him for about a year, but only last month did I find out that he has this really great collection of around 2000 bottles back home and he started telling me about some of the stuff he has and I was floored. I asked him why he never brings his own wine? And he told me he does BYOB a lot, at OTHER places, and that there's no other place he goes to where he drops the kind of $$ that he does here. But, he said, he likes my wine program so much that he wants to make sure it gets supported the way it should, so that I can continue to do what I do. I just thought that was really cool of him...that's all.
You make some good points, and I'm sure you do work hard to present a nice wine program. As for me, I almost always bring my own bottle, for two reasons really. The first is that I refuse to pay a 300% markup on any wine. I'm not saying your establishment does this, but it's a common trend in my area. For example, in Palm Desert this past weekend, I saw an '07 Harlan on a list for $2700. Before someone says, "Well, people that drink Harlan don't care about the price..." Whatever. BS. That's a blatant attempt to screw over a customer, plain & simple. And that Mollydooker at $25 you were talking about would command a $100 bill in a lot of places. As others have said, I have no problem with a restaurant making a profit. But, when price gouging is so obvious, I'm looking at other options (or drinking beer).

Second, many people that choose to bring their own already know what they like & want. I don't feel the need to fumble with a list, knowing that I have a collection of perfectly good stuff back home. With that, I will usually browse a list anyways, and often purchase a glass or split while my wine decants. Doing that, my corkage has been waived a number of times. As a customer, that is highly appreciated, and keeps me coming back.
I usually only BYOB when I have a specific wine I want to drink/share that won't be on the list. 9 times out of 10 I will already know what I'm going to eat at the restaurant and have tailored the wine to that.

Often quite frankly I would rather a restaurant by BYOB only (as in no house wine sales). Charge more for the food and have no corkage. You don't get that in many places but they have been some of the best restaurant meals. Bring a bunch of wine, maybe pay $25 a head more for the food but save $25-50 a head on corkage.
it's tricky... I BYOB 9 out of 10. If I'm going to a restaurant with a truly unique and special list, I rarely take my own wine. If I'm going somewhere new, I review the list prior to having them open the bottle I brought.

The other night I called a small restaurant in advance to make a res, and I asked about corkage. The owner / chef answered the phone and told me "corkage is $20, but pleeeeeease don't bring your own wine. i promise you'll love my list! I work so hard on it, it's all very small production, mom and pop wine that's very unique". Needless to say, I didn't bring my own wine, and really enjoyed her list. I won't ever BYOB to that restaurant, unless there's something really cool that I want the chef to try.

Most restaurants, though, have wine lists that scream "i'm an asshole". Run-of-the-mill wines, at 300% of SRP. I want one person to explain to me why anyone with even a modicum of wine knowledge, should buy from those lists.
quote:
Originally posted by Rob_Sutherland:
Often quite frankly I would rather a restaurant by BYOB only (as in no house wine sales). Charge more for the food and have no corkage.


Totally agree and this is what they do in Montreal, which is one of my favourite things about the scene there IMO.
Here, to allow BYOB a restaurant must have a liquor license. As the case is, from what I understand, most of the profit comes from beer and mixed drinks. The Wine List is typically looked upon as a convienence for the customer or to add to the overall experience. Ron seems to imply that restaurants should keep glassware for customers that might walk in with their own wines, but not for anything they might sell!

A most of the restaurants here, the markup appears to be 2-3x for wines under $20 retail, but normally only 1.25-1.5x for wines over $50 retail. Both of which is less than the mark-up for coffee, sodas, or ice tea.

Wine lists appear to be hard and some drop them, along with the stemware. If the clientel at the great local Italian eatery will not pay over $15 for a bottle of wine, there soon is no wine sold and no corkage allowed. If one doubles the price they often get the same answer. They are not going to keep a Barolo or a BdM setting around for the occasional buyer to take one once a year. If an establishment only sells 8-10 bottles of wine per night with 1.5 mark-up yielding $50 gross profit/night on the program is it worth the effort?
quote:
Originally posted by Shane T.:
You make some good points, and I'm sure you do work hard to present a nice wine program. As for me, I almost always bring my own bottle, for two reasons really. The first is that I refuse to pay a 300% markup on any wine. I'm not saying your establishment does this, but it's a common trend in my area. For example, in Palm Desert this past weekend, I saw an '07 Harlan on a list for $2700. Before someone says, "Well, people that drink Harlan don't care about the price..." Whatever. BS. That's a blatant attempt to screw over a customer, plain & simple. And that Mollydooker at $25 you were talking about would command a $100 bill in a lot of places. As others have said, I have no problem with a restaurant making a profit. But, when price gouging is so obvious, I'm looking at other options (or drinking beer).

Second, many people that choose to bring their own already know what they like & want. I don't feel the need to fumble with a list, knowing that I have a collection of perfectly good stuff back home. With that, I will usually browse a list anyways, and often purchase a glass or split while my wine decants. Doing that, my corkage has been waived a number of times. As a customer, that is highly appreciated, and keeps me coming back.


I understand your points, but I don't necessarily agree with your assessment of the situation. Yes, as a standard mark-up, most places will start around 300% and that's the mark-up over wholesale, not SRP, as I've seen mentioned by others. Now, the lower priced bottles may have a margin that goes over 300%, but generally, the higher priced items often have a lesser mark-up, say around 250% or even lower, the reasoning usually being that, though the margin of profit is lower, the generation of revenue coming into the biz is greater. The only exception I've seen is if we're talking about wines on which the current market value may vary...e.g., very sought after older vintage wines or rare/cult wines....and that's just the principles of a market economy at work on those. Now again, I understand what you're saying about mark-ups, but I just don't think we should overstate the case--I have never seen a situation where a run-of-the-mill, $25 RETAIL wine is marked-up 400% over RETAIL on a list. I spend a lot of time looking at wine lists from other places to assess their pricing structure.
But again, you got good stuff at home that you want to enjoy...you should have the ability to do that and that should be supported.
quote:
Originally posted by Sandy Fitzgerald:
Here, to allow BYOB a restaurant must have a liquor license. As the case is, from what I understand, most of the profit comes from beer and mixed drinks. The Wine List is typically looked upon as a convienence for the customer or to add to the overall experience. Ron seems to imply that restaurants should keep glassware for customers that might walk in with their own wines, but not for anything they might sell! Beer and Liquor may have higher profit margins, but wine can still generate more revenue, and that is still viewed as very important.

A most of the restaurants here, the markup appears to be 2-3x for wines under $20 retail, but normally only 1.25-1.5x for wines over $50 retail. Both of which is less than the mark-up for coffee, sodas, or ice tea. Exactly right!

Wine lists appear to be hard and some drop them, along with the stemware. If the clientel at the great local Italian eatery will not pay over $15 for a bottle of wine, there soon is no wine sold and no corkage allowed. If one doubles the price they often get the same answer. They are not going to keep a Barolo or a BdM setting around for the occasional buyer to take one once a year. If an establishment only sells 8-10 bottles of wine per night with 1.5 mark-up yielding $50 gross profit/night on the program is it worth the effort?
quote:
Originally posted by Rob_Sutherland:
I usually only BYOB when I have a specific wine I want to drink/share that won't be on the list. 9 times out of 10 I will already know what I'm going to eat at the restaurant and have tailored the wine to that.

Often quite frankly I would rather a restaurant by BYOB only (as in no house wine sales). Charge more for the food and have no corkage. You don't get that in many places but they have been some of the best restaurant meals. Bring a bunch of wine, maybe pay $25 a head more for the food but save $25-50 a head on corkage.
I'm gonna go ahead and have to disagree with you on this one. Big Grin
I'll add my 2 Cents, from Toronto:

- Our restaurants have ample direct purchase and "private import" options from our state monopoly, the LCBO. They can also buy direct from the many Agencies that import into Ontario. So they have sufficient choice to build a wine list. No excuses there.

- Despite this choice, many restaurants make poor selections in terms of QPR. Assuming a 2 to 3x markup, many are selecting wines that of significantly subpar quality at too high cost and end price. So so many times, I wonder whether the restaurant even tastes the wines they sell. So so many times, I wonder, why in heck did you ever put this wine (and in fact many of your wines) on your wine list. So many times,I struggle to find a wine that is decent (or even fit to drink), but not wildly over priced. It's as if these restaurants either don't know, don't care or don't make the effort.

- Yet I may like their cusuine, atmosphere and/or service, and so BYOB (if possible) or just put up with yet another subpar wine.

- If restaurants would actually make an effort to assemble a wine list offering good QPR at a variety of price points, and also offered good QPR in cuisine/service/decor, then I would beat a path to their door, and support them.

- If reality is that restaurant wine sales do not make money, then they should atleast use their wine list as a selling point, to bring in patrons and create demand for their main business lines.

- And offering both a decent wine list (at sufficient but not unduly inflated prices) and BYOB can create a compelling value proposition for patrons to dine at your establishment and perhaps even pay a premium for the cuisine. If and only if the restaurant actually makes an effort to market that value proposition.

- If a restaurant truly offers good wine QPR and choice at varying price points, they could charge a higher corkage fee (say $30 or $35, rather than $25 or $30). The message could/would be: we have a fantastic wine list with lots of QPR wines at all price points. We want you to try them. Don't expect or plan to save money by bringing your own. Do bring your own, if you have something special that we don't have, but be prepared to pay a suffucient BYOB charge to offset our costs of maintaining a great wine list and stemware / decanter service.

- where oh where are our local wine consultants, to help our restaurants design and build their wine lists / cellars? Or perhaps they just can't afford them.

Enough ranting.

You restauranteurs out there. Don't be defensive. Rather, think, how can we use our wine list, to optimize client satisfaction and thereby revenues,

Just my 2 Cents

Cheers

jhcolman
BYO is not allowed in Michigan, so I rarely get to enjoy the benefits of that practice. Unfortunately, I am forced to choose from one of the following options:
A) Order off the provided wine list
B) not have any wine with my meal
C) not even go out to eat in the first place.

A NOTE TO ANY RESTAURANTEURS OUT THERE:
More often than not, I simply chose to eat at home. If I am eating out, I will often not order any wine, because either the choices are lousy, or the prices are just undigestible, or (most often) both. Restauranteurs, where is your profit in that???

There is maybe one restaurant in Saginaw that I will actually look forward to ordering wine from the list because they have a decent list of interesting choices AND the prices are somewhat reasonable (generally less than 2x street retail), and the food is usually quite good.

I really don't understand why a restaurant needs to mark up wines so much. I've never been in the business, so maybe I'm completely out in left field, but it seems like you would sell so much more wine if it wasn't marked up so steeply. I can understand pricing a wine that costs $10 wholesale at $25 or $30. You've got to pay for the costs of acquisition, storage, service, stemware, etc. I totally get that. If you marked a bottle that cost $50 wholesale at $75, I would very likely buy it, and you just made $5 more than you did with the $10 bottle (which I was unlikely to buy anyway). But if you use your stupid "300% of wholesale" formula, and list the $50 wine at $150, it's a total pass for me, and you've completely missed a chance to make a sale.

No thanks, I'll just have water with that.
quote:
Originally posted by GregT:
[QUOTE]You know, just out of curiosity...when people BYOB, is it more because you don't want to pay for the wine in a restaurant? Or more because you have a special bottle that the restaurant can't provide? I've heard people say both and I've always wondered which was more prevalent.

Kind of both. If I have an older bottle, I usually didn't buy it in the current market. I don't want to pay the full retail mark up in any case, much less for something with some age. I have a bottle that I paid $15 for and I have to pay someone $90?

...QUOTE]

I think the restaurants offer a combination of food+beverage prices that enables them to stay in business, with little margin. It doesnt't matter wether the bill says: food 70$ + beverage 90$ or food 120$ + beverage 40$, the result is the same, but then no one would enter into a reastaurant that has such high prices for the food. You can't expect the restaurants to lower their prices below costs, if they lowered the price on their wines, they'd have to raise the price on their food.
The better solution is: keep the food prices low, so that many potential customers could afford it an then let anyone choose a beverage according to his/her pocket. Make your margin on the beverages instead on the food. That's the way it is.
quote:
Originally posted by Redhawk:
BYO is not allowed in Michigan, so I rarely get to enjoy the benefits of that practice. Unfortunately, I am forced to choose from one of the following options:
A) Order off the provided wine list
B) not have any wine with my meal
C) not even go out to eat in the first place.

A NOTE TO ANY RESTAURANTEURS OUT THERE:
More often than not, I simply chose to eat at home. If I am eating out, I will often not order any wine, because either the choices are lousy, or the prices are just undigestible, or (most often) both. Restauranteurs, where is your profit in that???

There is maybe one restaurant in Saginaw that I will actually look forward to ordering wine from the list because they have a decent list of interesting choices AND the prices are somewhat reasonable (generally less than 2x street retail), and the food is usually quite good.

I really don't understand why a restaurant needs to mark up wines so much. I've never been in the business, so maybe I'm completely out in left field, but it seems like you would sell so much more wine if it wasn't marked up so steeply. I can understand pricing a wine that costs $10 wholesale at $25 or $30. You've got to pay for the costs of acquisition, storage, service, stemware, etc. I totally get that. If you marked a bottle that cost $50 wholesale at $75, I would very likely buy it, and you just made $5 more than you did with the $10 bottle (which I was unlikely to buy anyway). But if you use your stupid "300% of wholesale" formula, and list the $50 wine at $150, it's a total pass for me, and you've completely missed a chance to make a sale.

No thanks, I'll just have water with that.


i think you are saying

"Let me worry about carrying massive amounts of inventory to keep up witht he lower profit margins and higher turnover rates"

or "Let me lower my profit margins so that I can try and turnover more people"

or quite simply

"Let me work harder for less profit"

most restuarnats in ny nowadays should know exactly what's selling and what's not at certain price points and have various metrics that pinpoint how they should price.

the simpler solution to me would be to drop the wine that's not selling and caryr something else where you can maintain margins.
quote:
Originally posted by jhcolman:
quote:
Originally posted by GregT:
Never had any problem but maybe things are different in Toronto? I'm not surprised there are rules like that somewhere. Too bad people have to go thru all that just to have a glass of wine. Cripes.


I do not know how widespread this issue is. The Toronto restaurant in question told me that BYOB requires a special Provincial license and that this licence requires that bottles be sealed when brought to the restaurant. They are otherwise a favourite local haunt of ours, so my approach skirts that issue.

I also recall an offline, wherein the owner or sommelier said "I'll just pretend that I openned that bottle for you".

Does anyone know the actual Provinvial regulations around this? Just curious.

Thanks

jhcolman


As I understand it, BYOW in Ontario is an endorsement or addition to the license to sell liquor as provided in the Liquor License Act.

The endorsement permits patrons to bring unopened bottles of commercially made wine to the restaurant for their own consumption. The wine must have its original manufacturer´s seal intact when presented to the employee of the licensed establishment for opening.

Thus your "workaround" home-made seal is a violation and the restaurant would be legally correct to reject that bottle. In practice, unless it's patently obvious, restaurants will probably let it go, especially if you're a regular patron.
quote:
Originally posted by Stevey:
quote:
Originally posted by jhcolman:
quote:
Originally posted by GregT:
Never had any problem but maybe things are different in Toronto? I'm not surprised there are rules like that somewhere. Too bad people have to go thru all that just to have a glass of wine. Cripes.


I do not know how widespread this issue is. The Toronto restaurant in question told me that BYOB requires a special Provincial license and that this licence requires that bottles be sealed when brought to the restaurant. They are otherwise a favourite local haunt of ours, so my approach skirts that issue.

I also recall an offline, wherein the owner or sommelier said "I'll just pretend that I openned that bottle for you".

Does anyone know the actual Provinvial regulations around this? Just curious.

Thanks

jhcolman


As I understand it, BYOW in Ontario is an endorsement or addition to the license to sell liquor as provided in the Liquor License Act.

The endorsement permits patrons to bring unopened bottles of commercially made wine to the restaurant for their own consumption. The wine must have its original manufacturer´s seal intact when presented to the employee of the licensed establishment for opening.

Thus your "workaround" home-made seal is a violation and the restaurant would be legally correct to reject that bottle. In practice, unless it's patently obvious, restaurants will probably let it go, especially if you're a regular patron.


Fine! I'll buy a cork press. If ever challenged (about .001% likely) the restaurant can then say that it looked liked a commecial seal to them.

I will simply not cater to this yet another piece of Province of Ontario goverment wine regulation idiocy!
quote:
Originally posted by g-man:
quote:
Originally posted by Redhawk:
BYO is not allowed in Michigan, so I rarely get to enjoy the benefits of that practice. Unfortunately, I am forced to choose from one of the following options:
A) Order off the provided wine list
B) not have any wine with my meal
C) not even go out to eat in the first place.

A NOTE TO ANY RESTAURANTEURS OUT THERE:
More often than not, I simply chose to eat at home. If I am eating out, I will often not order any wine, because either the choices are lousy, or the prices are just undigestible, or (most often) both. Restauranteurs, where is your profit in that???

There is maybe one restaurant in Saginaw that I will actually look forward to ordering wine from the list because they have a decent list of interesting choices AND the prices are somewhat reasonable (generally less than 2x street retail), and the food is usually quite good.

I really don't understand why a restaurant needs to mark up wines so much. I've never been in the business, so maybe I'm completely out in left field, but it seems like you would sell so much more wine if it wasn't marked up so steeply. I can understand pricing a wine that costs $10 wholesale at $25 or $30. You've got to pay for the costs of acquisition, storage, service, stemware, etc. I totally get that. If you marked a bottle that cost $50 wholesale at $75, I would very likely buy it, and you just made $5 more than you did with the $10 bottle (which I was unlikely to buy anyway). But if you use your stupid "300% of wholesale" formula, and list the $50 wine at $150, it's a total pass for me, and you've completely missed a chance to make a sale.

No thanks, I'll just have water with that.


i think you are saying

"Let me worry about carrying massive amounts of inventory to keep up witht he lower profit margins and higher turnover rates"

or "Let me lower my profit margins so that I can try and turnover more people"

or quite simply

"Let me work harder for less profit"

most restuarnats in ny nowadays should know exactly what's selling and what's not at certain price points and have various metrics that pinpoint how they should price.

the simpler solution to me would be to drop the wine that's not selling and caryr something else where you can maintain margins.


Where did I say "you should work harder for less profit"? If that's your attitude, then why on earth should anyone bother to patronize your establishment? If your restaurant is busy and profitable, then by all means, do what you are doing. Why on earth would you want another customer like me? All I do is spend money on food, tip generously, and try to be pleasant to to wait staff.

If this is truly the case--that every restaurant has done a thorough market analysis and determined that 300% over wholesale is the only profitable way to sell wine, then so be it. As I said, I'll just stay home. But something tells me that the vast majority choose that price point because "that's just how it has always been done". If I'm wrong, then please explain why certain restaurants can offer 1/2-off promos for wine during slow times such as Tuesdays or before 5:30, and why anyone would even bother to offer corkage.

I think also that there is probably a different perspective between a busy Manhattan restaurant and the rest of the world.

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