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Hoping to Improve Sales, Restaurants Reduce Corkage Fees

Restaurants have turned to retail, offered cheaper steaks, and charged patrons extra for bread — all in an attempt to improve discouraging sales numbers. But that isn't enough, so restaurateurs are taking it to the next level and promoting "bring your own" wine programs.

Nation's Restaurant News reports that in a recent DiningInfo survey of 50,000 restaurateurs, 15,000 now have a program that allows diners to bring their own bottles of wine, and that number is growing. This policy requires a special 'bottle club license' in certain states, and also means lower profit margins. However, operators — even the likes of high-end restaurateurs like Danny Meyer — agree that, at least for the moment, turnout makes up for lower alcohol sales. I've certainly noticed an upward trend in reduced corkage fees around town.

Do you find yourself more drawn to a restaurant that has a BYO policy? Do you think reducing or eliminating corkage fees could help restaurants solve their problem of sluggish sales?

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Join The Conversation
aimeeb aimeeb 8 years
I rarely drink so it doesn't matter to me.
chiefdishwasher chiefdishwasher 8 years
That is good....restaurants are doing whatever they can just to stay open and keep afloat until the economy is better. Forget profit, they are just trying to keep employees paid and the bills covered.
bluesarahlou bluesarahlou 8 years
It's pretty common here (Northern Bay Area, Ca) to have corkage fees. I prefer to bring my own bottle because the markup on wine is usually OUTRAGEOUS. I'd probably go more frequently to a restaurant if they lowered the corkage fees. When you're being charged upwards of $20, it can get pretty pricey.
ilanac13 ilanac13 8 years
well - it's pretty common for us to have those (even here in NYC). i've gone to a few places and i've brought my own and it's been nice since there are often only REALLY expensive bottles on the menu. i get frustrated with corkage fees but i understand it.
xxstardust xxstardust 8 years
I'm from NJ, so BYOB restaurants aren't new here, and are very common. I'm underage though, so it doesn't make any difference to me.
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