Heading Out For Dinner Tonight? Consider BYOB

More restaurants removing corkage fees

Bringing your own bottle of wine to your favorite restaurant is getting cheaper and more popular.

With sales and traffic dwindling because of the economy, more restaurants are either offering BYOB nights or are chopping the corkage fee they charge people who bring their own as they try to entice more wine-drinking diners to pay for a meal out.

Former bartender turned wine rep Tom Cunningham said he thinks the move makes sense. He said some higher-end restaurants will buy a bottle for around $4 wholesale, then sell each glass for $8.95.

"By the time the bartender has poured half the first glass, the entire bottle is paid for," he said. "The rest is just gravy."

Such mark-ups are why people bring their own bottles in the first place, but that corking fees are being cut at some joints could help spur an increase in clientele, Cunningham said.

"People are becoming more savvy about wine," he said. "They'll buy it from a retailer or maybe even at some wholesale place they know about. And it's good wine too. They buy it after making their next reservation, so they know exactly where they're going and probably have an idea of what they'll be in the mood for."

Cunningham added that he and a small group have already taken advantage of one restaurant's BYOB policy.

"Eight of us went to this cool new place a couple weeks ago, and I walked in with a cooler," he said. "The manager was totally fine with it."

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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