Bent-Over by High Wine Prices?
Dear Good Somm Bad Somm,
I recently saw a bottle of wine at a retail wine shop priced at $45 that I had recently purchased at a restaurant for $100! How could this be?! Why is wine so overpriced in restaurants as opposed to retail?
Dear Feeling Gouged,
Great question! I would like to apologize that you feel gouged. This phenomenon has to do with the business side of wine & the costs of running a restaurant. Standard markup in restaurants is about 30%. Pricing has to cover the cost of the bottle & the cost of doing business and still create a profit. At the end of the day most restaurants barely make money!
If you think the markup on wine is high, check the markup on coffee, soda, liquor, beer, mixed drinks and bottled water. It is actually significantly higher than wine! Check other industries – fashion, interior decorating, gardening, valet, house cleaning, education, housing, health care, electronics & entertainment – these industries all have markups that are staggeringly higher than those in the wine industry.
So, keep on supporting your local restaurants and remember it is our pleasure to serve you and to share our passion: wine!
Dear Feeling Gouged,
I'm so tired of hearing this question from every tight-wad, wannabe-wine-collector who comes in my dining room.
If you want to drink wine at retail prices, go buy a bottle and drink it on the hood of your car in the parking lot of your favorite liquor store. And get used to it because the restaurant business is quickly becoming untenable.
In fact, next time you go out to a restaurant, wander over to the kitchen and take a look around: Do you see that army of Line Cooks sweating their skinny asses off, cooking for you? You think they're back there because they like getting burned-up and screamed at by angry chefs for a living? No. They get paid.
And the food they prepared? Delicious! Blows that Trader Joe's Tamale you had for dinner last night away, right? Food costs money.
And what about the mob of Dishwashers and Glass Polishers? They're back there scrubbing pots and pans. They aren't compensated in Pesos, beuy...
And you like that "hipster" Bartender with the funny mustache and sailor tattoos who made your fancy cocktail? We don't pay him in Fernet-Branca.
How about the smokin' hot Waitress who flirts with you every time she's at your table? You ain't gettin' any of that at home, bro. Guess what? She gets a paycheck too!
And this prime real estate you're standing on? Imagine the rent.
Now, who do you think pays for this entire operation?
We do! The Restaurant! And we do it just for You! And the way we are able to do it is by selling you stuff for more than what they charge you at Costco!
So if you like being trapped in your domestic nightmare of boredom, where all you eat are overcooked vegetables and dried out chicken prepared by you and your spouse, just keep complaining. Put it on Yelp!
But if you enjoy being able to escape your kitchen to a crowded joint full of beautiful people while being served exquisitely prepared meals and drinking from Riedel glassware: Stick a cork in it!