Normal wine mark-ups at restaurants?

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Gray G
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Normal wine mark-ups at restaurants?

#1 Post by Gray G » September 5th, 2019, 6:36 am

was just dining in London at a very popular bar/restaurant/hotel

http://www.chilternfirehouse.com/

we drank a bottle of Malbec that was marked up 10 times and our server said the normal mark-up varies but is usually 5-6X at the Firehouse

I usually see 2-3x markups on the west coast of the US

what's up?

cheers
Last edited by Gray G on September 5th, 2019, 7:05 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Normal wine mark=ups at restaurants?

#2 Post by YLee » September 5th, 2019, 6:45 am

East coast I see anywhere from 3x-5 or 6x. But 10x is wow. Did you drink the malbec? I would have asked for water. Ha!
-¥ 0 ñ 9

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Re: Normal wine mark=ups at restaurants?

#3 Post by Jim Stewart » September 5th, 2019, 6:55 am

My experience all over the USA has been around 2-3X +/-. I think 5-6X is outrageous, and 10X the equivalent of usurous!
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Re: Normal wine mark=ups at restaurants?

#4 Post by Gray G » September 5th, 2019, 7:04 am

yes we drank the Malbec, then my buddies went to Vivino after they liked it....everyone has a phone these days LOL

then one of my buddies questioned the server, she was nice
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Re: Normal wine mark-ups at restaurants?

#5 Post by Blair Ridley » September 5th, 2019, 7:09 am

I agree with ¥ 0 ñ 9. Typically see 3-5x on lists with the occasional 1.5-2x at some wino-centric places. My limit for buying is typically ~2.5-3x based upon the situation. Anything higher than 3x for more expensive wines and I'm not ordering off the list.

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Re: Normal wine mark-ups at restaurants?

#6 Post by Jeff_M. » September 5th, 2019, 7:14 am

It varies, wildly
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Re: Normal wine mark-ups at restaurants?

#7 Post by John Morris » September 5th, 2019, 8:11 am

Gray G wrote:
September 5th, 2019, 6:36 am
was just dining in London at a very popular bar/restaurant/hotel

http://www.chilternfirehouse.com/

we drank a bottle of Malbec that was marked up 10 times and our server said the normal mark-up varies but is usually 5-6X at the Firehouse

I usually see 2-3x markups on the west coast of the US

what's up?

cheers
That's odd because markups relative to retail are usually lower in the UK and, particularly, on the Continent.

Why did you order the malbec if the average markup there is 5x-6x?
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Re: Normal wine mark-ups at restaurants?

#8 Post by Anton D » September 5th, 2019, 8:24 am

Wow!

I watch for 'double retail' and don't order if a wine tops that.
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Re: Normal wine mark-ups at restaurants?

#9 Post by Gray G » September 5th, 2019, 8:59 am

John Morris wrote:
September 5th, 2019, 8:11 am
Gray G wrote:
September 5th, 2019, 6:36 am
was just dining in London at a very popular bar/restaurant/hotel

http://www.chilternfirehouse.com/

we drank a bottle of Malbec that was marked up 10 times and our server said the normal mark-up varies but is usually 5-6X at the Firehouse

I usually see 2-3x markups on the west coast of the US

what's up?

cheers
That's odd because markups relative to retail are usually lower in the UK and, particularly, on the Continent.

Why did you order the malbec if the average markup there is 5x-6x?
I trusted the wine gal's recommendation, thereafter realizing the place is gouging folks...the $130 was one of the least expensive wines LOL
my friends call me Gary, so much time, so little wine, Albanista, K Vinters rocks! MCK, Cattle King, love Gri3v3 Family wines Double Eagle baby! flavors please, non-religious freedom :) egalitarian, non-socialist, non-ITB, paid subscriber of online chat, Going Beserk everyday! "life's not black and white but black and grey"- Graham Greene

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Re: Normal wine mark-ups at restaurants?

#10 Post by John Morris » September 5th, 2019, 9:15 am

Dining out in London is never cheap, but I don't usually think of wine markups being the issue.
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Re: Normal wine mark-ups at restaurants?

#11 Post by Joe Chanley » September 5th, 2019, 9:21 am

Anton D wrote:
September 5th, 2019, 8:24 am
Wow!

I watch for 'double retail' and don't order if a wine tops that.
^ this, otherwise i go BTG, booze or beer.

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Re: Normal wine mark-ups at restaurants?

#12 Post by Joshua Kates » September 5th, 2019, 9:32 am

I think +/- 3x is the norm in large cities on both coasts. As many of us know, and of course ironically, the good deals are often to be found at the higher ends, either because there a mark-up of 1.5-2x still yields big bucks, or because the restaurant bought it a while ago, marked it up, and not sold it, and in the meantime, it's current price has increased. I wonder in your London place what the higher end looked like. I doubt that there were such exorbitant mark-ups at all levels.

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Re: Normal wine mark-ups at restaurants?

#13 Post by Marco Maiocco » September 5th, 2019, 10:03 am

in Italy it is usually 1.5 - 3 max vs. retail depending on restaurant. (median is under 2)
in uk I have usually found 4 - 5 x retail, but my experience is limited.

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Re: Normal wine mark-ups at restaurants?

#14 Post by Russell Faulkner » September 5th, 2019, 10:04 am

The Chiltern Firehouse isn’t a good choice to go and drink wine.

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Re: Normal wine mark-ups at restaurants?

#15 Post by Gray G » September 5th, 2019, 10:13 am

Russell Faulkner wrote:
September 5th, 2019, 10:04 am
The Chiltern Firehouse isn’t a good choice to go and drink wine.
+10
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Re: Normal wine mark-ups at restaurants?

#16 Post by Jim Stewart » September 5th, 2019, 10:37 am

Gray G wrote:
September 5th, 2019, 10:13 am
Russell Faulkner wrote:
September 5th, 2019, 10:04 am
The Chiltern Firehouse isn’t a good choice to go and drink wine.
+10
x 10 in your case, Gary
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Re: Normal wine mark-ups at restaurants?

#17 Post by lleichtman » September 5th, 2019, 10:40 am

2-3 times retail is typical. 10 times retail is outrageous.
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Re: Normal wine mark-ups at restaurants?

#18 Post by John Danza » September 5th, 2019, 10:49 am

It seems to depend on the general cost of the wine. Less expensive wine get a higher markup, while more expensive wines will see a lower markup.
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Re: Normal wine mark-ups at restaurants?

#19 Post by Gray G » September 5th, 2019, 10:51 am

Jim Stewart wrote:
September 5th, 2019, 10:37 am
Gray G wrote:
September 5th, 2019, 10:13 am
Russell Faulkner wrote:
September 5th, 2019, 10:04 am
The Chiltern Firehouse isn’t a good choice to go and drink wine.
+10
x 10 in your case, Gary
hahaha
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Re: Normal wine mark-ups at restaurants?

#20 Post by Mark Golodetz » September 5th, 2019, 12:24 pm

It’s called the Malbec mark up. I am sure if you had checked, the Cabernets had a three time mark up newhere
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Re: Normal wine mark-ups at restaurants?

#21 Post by alan weinberg » September 5th, 2019, 12:30 pm

iced tea and a polite comment to the server.

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Re: Normal wine mark-ups at restaurants?

#22 Post by Russell Faulkner » September 5th, 2019, 12:43 pm

I suspect the markup on iced tea (which I suspect even more they don’t serve) would be rather more than 10x... [snort.gif]

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Re: Normal wine mark-ups at restaurants?

#23 Post by Chuck Miller » September 5th, 2019, 12:46 pm

lleichtman wrote:
September 5th, 2019, 10:40 am
2-3 times retail is typical. 10 times retail is outrageous.
Nobody said 10x retail. Markup is calculated from their (presumably wholesale) cost, so a $7 wholesale btl would retail for $10, and be $70 on the list. Still outrageous, however.
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Re: Normal wine mark-ups at restaurants?

#24 Post by Gray G » September 5th, 2019, 1:19 pm

Chuck Miller wrote:
September 5th, 2019, 12:46 pm
lleichtman wrote:
September 5th, 2019, 10:40 am
2-3 times retail is typical. 10 times retail is outrageous.
Nobody said 10x retail. Markup is calculated from their (presumably wholesale) cost, so a $7 wholesale btl would retail for $10, and be $70 on the list. Still outrageous, however.
yes wine was available retail 14 USD according to Vivino >>>>> 130 UK

almost criminal
my friends call me Gary, so much time, so little wine, Albanista, K Vinters rocks! MCK, Cattle King, love Gri3v3 Family wines Double Eagle baby! flavors please, non-religious freedom :) egalitarian, non-socialist, non-ITB, paid subscriber of online chat, Going Beserk everyday! "life's not black and white but black and grey"- Graham Greene

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Re: Normal wine mark-ups at restaurants?

#25 Post by Hank Victor » September 5th, 2019, 1:46 pm

That's ridiculous... I know alcohol sales help keep restaurants profitable but what happened to providing value for your customer.....
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Re: Normal wine mark-ups at restaurants?

#26 Post by Nate Simon » September 5th, 2019, 2:17 pm

This is why beer is becoming a real threat to wine’s restaurant hegemony. The value is far and away superior, as long as restaurants adhere to the antiquated pricing model.

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Re: Normal wine mark-ups at restaurants?

#27 Post by Jason T » September 5th, 2019, 2:17 pm

Gray G wrote:
September 5th, 2019, 1:19 pm
Chuck Miller wrote:
September 5th, 2019, 12:46 pm
lleichtman wrote:
September 5th, 2019, 10:40 am
2-3 times retail is typical. 10 times retail is outrageous.
Nobody said 10x retail. Markup is calculated from their (presumably wholesale) cost, so a $7 wholesale btl would retail for $10, and be $70 on the list. Still outrageous, however.
yes wine was available retail 14 USD according to Vivino >>>>> 130 UK

almost criminal
There’s a bit of “apples and oranges” here. 14 USD is the price of the bottle retail in the US, but how much is it in the UK?

There’s that little thing called “exchange rate” accounting for ~23 percent of that price difference you describe...
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Re: Normal wine mark-ups at restaurants?

#28 Post by Jim Marmion » September 5th, 2019, 2:23 pm

Your buddies liked the wine at 130 sterling, so around $160 US. They went onto to Vivino anticipating seeing it at perhaps $50/$60 retail. Instead it's available at $14. What's not to like? Hopefully they bought a couple of cases and are toasting their good fortune. Please share the link to this bargainous juice! [cheers.gif]

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Re: Normal wine mark-ups at restaurants?

#29 Post by Gray G » September 5th, 2019, 2:25 pm

Jason T wrote:
September 5th, 2019, 2:17 pm
Gray G wrote:
September 5th, 2019, 1:19 pm
Chuck Miller wrote:
September 5th, 2019, 12:46 pm


Nobody said 10x retail. Markup is calculated from their (presumably wholesale) cost, so a $7 wholesale btl would retail for $10, and be $70 on the list. Still outrageous, however.
yes wine was available retail 14 USD according to Vivino >>>>> 130 UK

almost criminal
There’s a bit of “apples and oranges” here. 14 USD is the price of the bottle retail in the US, but how much is it in the UK?

There’s that little thing called “exchange rate” accounting for ~23 percent of that price difference you describe...
really?

14 USD to 130 UK (160 in USD)
my friends call me Gary, so much time, so little wine, Albanista, K Vinters rocks! MCK, Cattle King, love Gri3v3 Family wines Double Eagle baby! flavors please, non-religious freedom :) egalitarian, non-socialist, non-ITB, paid subscriber of online chat, Going Beserk everyday! "life's not black and white but black and grey"- Graham Greene

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Re: Normal wine mark-ups at restaurants?

#30 Post by Gray G » September 5th, 2019, 2:32 pm

Jim Marmion wrote:
September 5th, 2019, 2:23 pm
Your buddies liked the wine at 130 sterling, so around $160 US. They went onto to Vivino anticipating seeing it at perhaps $50/$60 retail. Instead it's available at $14. What's not to like? Hopefully they bought a couple of cases and are toasting their good fortune. Please share the link to this bargainous juice! [cheers.gif]
that's a good way to look at it!!!!

hahaha
my friends call me Gary, so much time, so little wine, Albanista, K Vinters rocks! MCK, Cattle King, love Gri3v3 Family wines Double Eagle baby! flavors please, non-religious freedom :) egalitarian, non-socialist, non-ITB, paid subscriber of online chat, Going Beserk everyday! "life's not black and white but black and grey"- Graham Greene

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Re: Normal wine mark-ups at restaurants?

#31 Post by Gray G » September 5th, 2019, 2:39 pm

my friends call me Gary, so much time, so little wine, Albanista, K Vinters rocks! MCK, Cattle King, love Gri3v3 Family wines Double Eagle baby! flavors please, non-religious freedom :) egalitarian, non-socialist, non-ITB, paid subscriber of online chat, Going Beserk everyday! "life's not black and white but black and grey"- Graham Greene

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Re: Normal wine mark-ups at restaurants?

#32 Post by YLee » September 5th, 2019, 3:01 pm

This reminds me of a story about French Laundry selling Lafage Cotes du Roussillon Bastide miraflorS for $2xx usd
-¥ 0 ñ 9

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Re: Normal wine mark-ups at restaurants?

#33 Post by Hank Victor » September 5th, 2019, 3:19 pm

https://www.wine-searcher.com/find/labo ... albec/2016

Wine Searcher not Pro is showing 1 retailer in USA selling it for $30ish.
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Re: Normal wine mark-ups at restaurants?

#34 Post by John Morris » September 5th, 2019, 3:23 pm

Hank Victor wrote:
September 5th, 2019, 3:19 pm
https://www.wine-searcher.com/find/labo ... albec/2016

Wine Searcher not Pro is showing 1 retailer in USA selling it for $30ish.
And it can be had for the equivalent of that in the UK, according to Wine Searcher.

Even at that retail price, the restaurant is charging more than 5x.
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Re: Normal wine mark-ups at restaurants?

#35 Post by RichardFlack » September 5th, 2019, 3:27 pm

A few thoughts. First, this is obviously an outlier. As such worth calling out though.
Second, I’ve always marvelled at what seems to be daft business model. But it clearly works as (almost) every restaurant does it, so I’m wrong.
Those four figure bottles on lists, I’d love to know if they are actually in stock, and in what quantity.
“I’d like a bottle of the ‘47 Latour please.”
“I’m sorry sir we’re all out. We had a bit of a run on it last night.... You know those JP Morgan guys“
I wonder if they are there partly to make the $250 bottle of St Joseph ($35 at Chicago wine store) seem reasonable.

The basic problem, to me, is a business model that underprices the food and overprices the wine. It seems odd to treat your core product as a loss leader.

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Re: Normal wine mark-ups at restaurants?

#36 Post by RichardFlack » September 5th, 2019, 3:56 pm

I just read something really interesting about restaurant pricing.
An article in the Economist about relatively high lunch prices in New York vs London (I think the Big Mac index may be morphing into the Pret Lobster Roll index) ... includes this:
Menu pricing starts with a simple rule, says John Buchanan of the consulting arm of Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises, a restaurant group: take the cost of ingredients and multiply by three.
Could that be the simple explanation for wine pricing? If 3x ingredient cost works for steak why not for Malbec (Ignoring the lack of chef, dishwasher etc labour on the wine)?

(In fairness the article goes on to explain the next step is basically a check against what the market will bear etc. )

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Re: Normal wine mark-ups at restaurants?

#37 Post by Jason T » September 5th, 2019, 4:10 pm

Gray G wrote:
September 5th, 2019, 2:25 pm
Jason T wrote:
September 5th, 2019, 2:17 pm
Gray G wrote:
September 5th, 2019, 1:19 pm


yes wine was available retail 14 USD according to Vivino >>>>> 130 UK

almost criminal
There’s a bit of “apples and oranges” here. 14 USD is the price of the bottle retail in the US, but how much is it in the UK?

There’s that little thing called “exchange rate” accounting for ~23 percent of that price difference you describe...
really?

14 USD to 130 UK (160 in USD)
In a separate post you used $130.
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Re: Normal wine mark-ups at restaurants?

#38 Post by Jim Marmion » September 5th, 2019, 4:50 pm

Hank Victor wrote:
September 5th, 2019, 3:19 pm
a

https://www.wine-searcher.com/find/labo ... albec/2016

Wine Searcher not Pro is showing 1 retailer in USA selling it for $30ish.
Note though the small print on the Vivino link

According to our users, the average purchase price of this wine is $11.58.

The plot thickens........

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Re: Normal wine mark-ups at restaurants?

#39 Post by Jim Marmion » September 5th, 2019, 5:06 pm

RichardFlack wrote:
September 5th, 2019, 3:56 pm
Could that be the simple explanation for wine pricing? If 3x ingredient cost works for steak why not for Malbec (Ignoring the lack of chef, dishwasher etc labour on the wine)?

(In fairness the article goes on to explain the next step is basically a check against what the market will bear etc. )
I remember years back the Sunday Times food writer Michael Winner complaining that he'd spotted a bottle of Bordeaux at Gordon Ramsay's eponymous flagship restaurant at £1,100 when he himself had just picked up a case of the same at auction at just over £100 a bottle.

I don't claim any great knowledge of higher end restaurant wine lists but undoubtedly those sufficiently well-heeled to absorb this kind of mark up are - hopefully - making the experience more accessible for the rest of us.

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Re: Normal wine mark-ups at restaurants?

#40 Post by Albert R » September 5th, 2019, 7:19 pm

2 to 3 times if it’s more than that and the list sux then water.
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Re: Normal wine mark-ups at restaurants?

#41 Post by Yao C » September 5th, 2019, 7:34 pm

Come to Portland; restaurant prices below 2x retail for days (sometimes <1x)
YLee wrote:
September 5th, 2019, 3:01 pm
This reminds me of a story about French Laundry selling Lafage Cotes du Roussillon Bastide miraflorS for $2xx usd
Amazing; did that really happen? Have to say, after visiting once I decided I never wanted to go again
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Re: Normal wine mark-ups at restaurants?

#42 Post by Mark Y » September 5th, 2019, 7:37 pm

The worst i've seen is in Iceland last week - a Casillero Del Diablo (i believe it's $7-$8), was on a list for about $100 USD.

Strangely they had a Boillinger bubbly for about 2x retail.. so it's all over the place.. but that was shocking.
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Re: Normal wine mark-ups at restaurants?

#43 Post by Randy Bowman » September 5th, 2019, 7:40 pm

We go over this subject every 5 years or so. We have very good friends who paid a fortune to get a "formal" education in restaurant management. They opened an Italian themed restaurant with reasonable food prices and marked up their wine four times wholesale that was a key point in their schooling. Couldn't convince them to lower their prices. After 10 years they finally brought their prices down to 2.5 or 3 times wholesale. They immediately made more money selling wine versus the $10 corkage fee they charged and everybody took advantage of.

If you consider the restaurant and location wine prices should mimic or compare to meal pricing. The French Laundry has a very high mark up and a pretty high corkage fee, all aligned with their food and food pricing. There are a ton of people who have and will spend the money. For every one of us here bitching about the pricing there are ten people who can't be bothered by such trivial matters and are regulars at the French Laundry. Consider what other restaurants in the class of the French Laundry that these people eat at regularly.

At least those restaurants who can/do offer corkage fee alternatives allow us to enjoy both food and wine.
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Re: Normal wine mark-ups at restaurants?

#44 Post by Albert R » September 5th, 2019, 7:41 pm

Mark Y wrote:
September 5th, 2019, 7:37 pm
The worst i've seen is in Iceland last week - a Casillero Del Diablo (i believe it's $7-$8), was on a list for about $100 USD.

Strangely they had a Boillinger bubbly for about 2x retail.. so it's all over the place.. but that was shocking.
Wow!!!!
Cheers,

@. Re-go

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Albert R
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Re: Normal wine mark-ups at restaurants?

#45 Post by Albert R » September 5th, 2019, 7:46 pm

Randy Bowman wrote:
September 5th, 2019, 7:40 pm
We go over this subject every 5 years or so. We have very good friends who paid a fortune to get a "formal" education in restaurant management. They opened an Italian themed restaurant with reasonable food prices and marked up their wine four times wholesale that was a key point in their schooling. Couldn't convince them to lower their prices. After 10 years they finally brought their prices down to 2.5 or 3 times wholesale. They immediately made more money selling wine versus the $10 corkage fee they charged and everybody took advantage of.

If you consider the restaurant and location wine prices should mimic or compare to meal pricing. The French Laundry has a very high mark up and a pretty high corkage fee, all aligned with their food and food pricing. There are a ton of people who have and will spend the money. For every one of us here bitching about the pricing there are ten people who can't be bothered by such trivial matters and are regulars at the French Laundry. Consider what other restaurants in the class of the French Laundry that these people eat at regularly.

At least those restaurants who can/do offer corkage fee alternatives allow us to enjoy both food and wine.
Good for those people who don’t bother with such trivial matters! If it makes you happy...... Cheers to them.
Cheers,

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Tom G l a s g o w
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Re: Normal wine mark-ups at restaurants?

#46 Post by Tom G l a s g o w » September 5th, 2019, 7:58 pm

Gray G wrote:
September 5th, 2019, 2:32 pm
Jim Marmion wrote:
September 5th, 2019, 2:23 pm
Your buddies liked the wine at 130 sterling, so around $160 US. They went onto to Vivino anticipating seeing it at perhaps $50/$60 retail. Instead it's available at $14. What's not to like? Hopefully they bought a couple of cases and are toasting their good fortune. Please share the link to this bargainous juice! [cheers.gif]
that's a good way to look at it!!!!

hahaha
If you been had, yes that’s a good way to look at it.
Paid close to retail for a nice burgundy at Clos Maggiore, it was cheaper than your Malbec.

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John Morris
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Re: Normal wine mark-ups at restaurants?

#47 Post by John Morris » September 5th, 2019, 8:43 pm

Randy Bowman wrote:
September 5th, 2019, 7:40 pm
For every one of us here bitching about the pricing there are ten people who can't be bothered by such trivial matters and are regulars at the French Laundry.
Uh . . . actually, I think you have the ratio backward. But it only takes a handful of price-insensitive customers to sustain a handful of high-end restaurants.
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Re: Normal wine mark-ups at restaurants?

#48 Post by Mike Maguire » September 5th, 2019, 9:36 pm

Anton D wrote:
September 5th, 2019, 8:24 am
Wow!

I watch for 'double retail' and don't order if a wine tops that.
+1

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Markus S
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Re: Normal wine mark-ups at restaurants?

#49 Post by Markus S » September 6th, 2019, 4:45 am

Gray G wrote:
September 5th, 2019, 6:36 am
...we drank a bottle of Malbec that was marked up 10 times and our server said the normal mark-up varies but is usually 5-6X at the Firehouse

I usually see 2-3x markups on the west coast of the US

what's up?
...
An economist would say pricing is what the market will bear. If people are willing to pay, they will, and be happy to get hosed.
$ _ € ® e . k @

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Re: Normal wine mark-ups at restaurants?

#50 Post by PFMay » September 8th, 2019, 7:53 am

Gray asked what the normal markup is. In the UK it's usually 3 times retail, but in top/famous/expensive restaurants like Chiltern Firehouse it's usually more.

Comparing the retail price against the USA isn't comparing like for like. Prices in the US don't include tax. Tax is included in wine prices here and tax is steep. There is a tax per bottle which is about £2.40, plus duty when imported from a non-EU country without free-tax arrangement. To the cost of the wine, wine tax and duty is applied VAT at 20%.

The only UK stockist I can find of the 2016 vintage of that wine on winesearcher.com is Latin Wine Online which has it for £27.49 incl. tax

Gray says he paid $130. According to xe.com $130 equates to £104.60 at the time of posting.

That's more than I'd pay for such a wine, but it's a little over 4 times retail. And the tip is included in the prices so the traditional USA additional 20% wasn't paid. (was it?)...

And the US dollar is worth so much more against the pound at the current time. OTOH, I'll be in the US next month, and I'll be lucky to afford to dine at Denny's. :)

(BTW - the ubiquity of people checking restaurant prices on smartphones has led to restaurant wine lists full of labels produced just for restaurants so diners can't see the wine they are drinking is available at the supermarket for a fraction of the cost)
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Peter F May
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