Hybrid wine shops/bars - Vinepair article

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PeterJ
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Hybrid wine shops/bars - Vinepair article

#1 Post by PeterJ » November 13th, 2019, 12:18 pm

https://vinepair.com/articles/how-wine- ... rids-work/

This article came to my attention today.

Here in South OC there are a number of these hybrid shops but they almost all serve more food than just the “snacks” the article describes. Most have +/- 100 wines at retail and serve what I’d describe as ‘small plate’ menus which include a dozen or more options from appetizers to cheese boards to flatbreads.

I’ve used to own one and have worked in two others since. In all cases I found there was apparent confusion on the part of customers regarding pricing and certainly about tipping. The Vinepair article addresses pricing but, though it says tipping is a question, doesn’t really address why that’s so.

To the extent that the wine tasting element of these places (either small tastes or full glasses) can be interpreted as a way to sell wine at retail, much the same as a winery tasting room, the fact that ‘substantial’ food is served I’d think would make tipping much the same as in a regular bar or restaurant. But I can tell you that it doesn’t for many customers. I have my own theories as to why but I’m interested in other ideas.

I guess it varies with location, but these ‘hybrids’ have been around long enough that I find it hard to think most people still find the concept confusing. What do you think.
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Re: Hybrid wine shops/bars - Vinepair article

#2 Post by GregT » November 13th, 2019, 12:24 pm

Those seem to be a phenomenon in CA. They're illegal in NY. They tried to open something along those lines in Tribeca and the authorities made them put up a glass wall to physically separate the on-premise consumption from the off-premise sales.

They're not so uncommon in Europe. I'm not sure I'm a big fan. I suppose if they're done right, they're OK but sometimes they stash tables around the shelves and you're sitting there having a conversation and someone's trying to look over your shoulder at a bottle.

But as to tipping, I tip on the food just like at a restaurant.

If anyone is in Reno, they have a pretty nice one called Whispering Vines. No affiliation, but they have one of the best wine lists in the city too.
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Re: Hybrid wine shops/bars - Vinepair article

#3 Post by Chris V. » November 13th, 2019, 12:31 pm

Noticed a few of these in SF when I was there last week and I'm a fan. Most let you open anything in the shop for a minimal corkage fee ($5-$10). Good way to try something while out without paying a massive restaurant markup.
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Re: Hybrid wine shops/bars - Vinepair article

#4 Post by Gabe Berk » November 13th, 2019, 1:00 pm

If "Joe" or "Susie" were pouring me wines to taste and took the time telling me about the winery, clonal selection, layout of the land, barrel selections, etc. while serving me food, it's highly likely I'd tip. That said, I wouldn't be surprised in the least if others didn't tip.

Many large winery tasting rooms don't accept tips.

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Re: Hybrid wine shops/bars - Vinepair article

#5 Post by Mich@el Ch@ng » November 13th, 2019, 2:27 pm

Tipping and wine is confusing, in some ways.

Let’s look at a couple scenarios.

You go to a tasting menu restaurant which is $200 for the food. You buy a bottle of 2002 krug for $800. Your total bill is $1100 with tax. What do you tip?

You go to the same restaurant but bring the bottle of 2002 krug and pay $50 for corkage. Your bill is $275 with tax. What do you tip?

Basically in the above 2 scenarios you’re getting exactly the same product.

In the wine bar scenario are you tipping based on the price of the bottle? Or the $10? Or just the cost of the food? Presumably if you bought btg, you’d tip on that value?

At bars I’ll often tip a flat rate per drink if I’m buying wine, beer, or straight alcohol. If the bartender is making a cocktail that’s different but it isn’t any more work to pour from a more expensive bottle than a cheaper one, imo.

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Re: Hybrid wine shops/bars - Vinepair article

#6 Post by A. So » November 13th, 2019, 3:39 pm

Mich@el Ch@ng wrote:
November 13th, 2019, 2:27 pm
it isn’t any more work to pour from a more expensive bottle than a cheaper one, imo.
This is specious. It's not more work to serve a Miyazaki A5 entree than it is to serve a chicken breast.
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Re: Hybrid wine shops/bars - Vinepair article

#7 Post by David Glasser » November 14th, 2019, 11:03 am

We have something similar locally but it’s a full-on restaurant plus retail wine store. Food is very good, one of our favorite local places. Wine selection is very good, prices are ok but I do better elsewhere when buying for the cellar.

It’s easy to find something good (if not aged) to accompany dinner and at retail plus $10 pricing is great compared to most other restaurants.

I tip the same as at any restaurant, usually ~25% on the total bill. But I’m not buying $800 bottles.

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Re: Hybrid wine shops/bars - Vinepair article

#8 Post by GregT » November 14th, 2019, 11:17 am

Gabe Berk wrote:
November 13th, 2019, 1:00 pm
If "Joe" or "Susie" were pouring me wines to taste and took the time telling me about the winery, clonal selection, layout of the land, barrel selections, etc. while serving me food, it's highly likely I'd tip. That said, I wouldn't be surprised in the least if others didn't tip.

Many large winery tasting rooms don't accept tips.
Interesting point and I suppose in that case I'd agree. But I have never had that situation in the US. Generally I spend a lot of time hunting down the wine and then I explain it to the waiter or waitress. I've made some good friends that way.

In Hungary and Austria and France where I didn't know much about the wines, the vineyards, etc., I was happy to listen because the few places I've been to in those countries had super knowlegable staff. It wasn't like someone needed a job while in school. For some reason they were always really passionate about wine and knew plenty. Haven't encountered that in the US.
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Re: Hybrid wine shops/bars - Vinepair article

#9 Post by Jeremy C » November 14th, 2019, 11:53 am

David Glasser wrote:
November 14th, 2019, 11:03 am
We have something similar locally but it’s a full-on restaurant plus retail wine store. Food is very good, one of our favorite local places. Wine selection is very good, prices are ok but I do better elsewhere when buying for the cellar.

It’s easy to find something good (if not aged) to accompany dinner and at retail plus $10 pricing is great compared to most other restaurants.

I tip the same as at any restaurant, usually ~25% on the total bill. But I’m not buying $800 bottles.
Out of curiosity, did you tip that percentage 20-30 years ago?
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Re: Hybrid wine shops/bars - Vinepair article

#10 Post by K John Joseph » November 14th, 2019, 1:35 pm

A. So wrote:
November 13th, 2019, 3:39 pm
Mich@el Ch@ng wrote:
November 13th, 2019, 2:27 pm
it isn’t any more work to pour from a more expensive bottle than a cheaper one, imo.
This is specious. It's not more work to serve a Miyazaki A5 entree than it is to serve a chicken breast.
That part of the argument is specious. But tip is based on custom and exists as supplemental income. At most restaurants, waiters are part of the tip pool, and the tip pool makes up the majority of their take-home income. That is not necessarily the case for a sommelier, many of whom are salaried and part of management. A lavish tip to a waiter based on somm service is farcical. You'd be better slipping the somm a $20 than tipping $160 on a Krug if the somm is out of the tip pool and you're trying to reward good wine service. If the somm is part of the tip pool, but the restaurant has established a corkage policy, has the restaurant confirmed that cost of service = X? Or does the restaurant pocket the corkage policy? I really don't know the answer to that question. The restaurant is denied markup and the wait staff or somm still has to do the work. How does it play? I don't know. If the somm does not serve you and leaves it to a waiter, what do you do? Adrian I'm curious to know what YOU do if you order a $200 or $800 bottle at dinner?

What I do know is that while I consider myself a fairly lavish tipper on meals and service, I will not tip a set % on bottles of wine in large part because the tip gross numbers can get silly in a hurry despite what amounts to really minimal work. I will also note that I don't think the custom at fine dining restaurants with big lists is to expect a fixed %. I would bet that expectations are a nice number once the bottle price is above, say $200, but not 20%.
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Re: Hybrid wine shops/bars - Vinepair article

#11 Post by David Glasser » November 14th, 2019, 2:11 pm

Jeremy C wrote:
November 14th, 2019, 11:53 am
David Glasser wrote:
November 14th, 2019, 11:03 am
We have something similar locally but it’s a full-on restaurant plus retail wine store. Food is very good, one of our favorite local places. Wine selection is very good, prices are ok but I do better elsewhere when buying for the cellar.

It’s easy to find something good (if not aged) to accompany dinner and at retail plus $10 pricing is great compared to most other restaurants.

I tip the same as at any restaurant, usually ~25% on the total bill. But I’m not buying $800 bottles.
Out of curiosity, did you tip that percentage 20-30 years ago?
No, 30 years ago I tipped 15-20%.

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Re: Hybrid wine shops/bars - Vinepair article

#12 Post by M. Taylor » November 14th, 2019, 2:22 pm

They started allowing these in Texas a few years ago, which was surprising considering how restrictive the TABC is in general. They aren't everywhere, but they are a nice concept.
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Re: Hybrid wine shops/bars - Vinepair article

#13 Post by Hank Victor » November 14th, 2019, 2:31 pm

People don't understand the concept of "corkage" in these establishments. From my experience many people don't like to be told that $15 will be added to the sticker label of the bottle they have in their hands.
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Re: Hybrid wine shops/bars - Vinepair article

#14 Post by David Glasser » November 14th, 2019, 2:34 pm

K John Joseph wrote:
November 14th, 2019, 1:35 pm
A. So wrote:
November 13th, 2019, 3:39 pm
Mich@el Ch@ng wrote:
November 13th, 2019, 2:27 pm
it isn’t any more work to pour from a more expensive bottle than a cheaper one, imo.
This is specious. It's not more work to serve a Miyazaki A5 entree than it is to serve a chicken breast.
That part of the argument is specious. But tip is based on custom and exists as supplemental income. At most restaurants, waiters are part of the tip pool, and the tip pool makes up the majority of their take-home income. That is not necessarily the case for a sommelier, many of whom are salaried and part of management. A lavish tip to a waiter based on somm service is farcical. You'd be better slipping the somm a $20 than tipping $160 on a Krug if the somm is out of the tip pool and you're trying to reward good wine service. If the somm is part of the tip pool, but the restaurant has established a corkage policy, has the restaurant confirmed that cost of service = X? Or does the restaurant pocket the corkage policy? I really don't know the answer to that question. The restaurant is denied markup and the wait staff or somm still has to do the work. How does it play? I don't know. If the somm does not serve you and leaves it to a waiter, what do you do? Adrian I'm curious to know what YOU do if you order a $200 or $800 bottle at dinner?

What I do know is that while I consider myself a fairly lavish tipper on meals and service, I will not tip a set % on bottles of wine in large part because the tip gross numbers can get silly in a hurry despite what amounts to really minimal work. I will also note that I don't think the custom at fine dining restaurants with big lists is to expect a fixed %. I would bet that expectations are a nice number once the bottle price is above, say $200, but not 20%.
I request the menu and bar and wine list with pricing, corkage policy and fee, the prior year's audited financial statements and monthly P&L from the restaurant, as well as last year's tax returns and a completed anonymous custom questionnaire on salary and tip distribution from every employee prior to making a reservation.

I’ve developed proprietary software which analyzes this data and determines the tip amount under any scenario or combination of food and drink orders that would be considered appropriate by 68.27% of Wine Berserkers. It takes into account tax laws in the 50 states and DC.

I’m making the software available to Berserkers on a subscription basis for the low introductory fee of one bottle of Krug MV per month. The first 100 to sign up will be eligible for a free upgrade to the European version when it becomes available.

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Re: Hybrid wine shops/bars - Vinepair article

#15 Post by K John Joseph » November 14th, 2019, 2:43 pm

David Glasser wrote:
November 14th, 2019, 2:34 pm
I’m making the software available to Berserkers on a subscription basis for the low introductory fee of one bottle of Krug MV per month. The first 100 to sign up will be eligible for a free upgrade to the European version when it becomes available.
But do you have to tip me for the bottle of Krug MV that I provide you each month? Since it's champagne, i'll triple+ retail for my list price, then expect 25% tip. So you'll need to tip me on $475 for the Krug bottle. I'll let you decide whether you tip post 8.25% tax or pre. If after, you'll need to kick me back $128.55. Because you chose Krug.
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Re: Hybrid wine shops/bars - Vinepair article

#16 Post by Chris Seiber » November 14th, 2019, 2:43 pm

A similar thing I encounter is going to Santa Monica Seafood. They are a retail store and fish counter, but they also have a small dining area, and they sell prepared food you can eat in or take out.

So I buy a salmon filet and whole Loup de Mer from the fish counter, maybe the fish counter guy cleans the scales off the whole fish, I buy a to-go tub of clam chowder from the prepared food counter, and the whole thing comes on one credit card slip with a blank for you to leave a tip. I'm used to tipping when I have an opportunity and feel weird leaving it blank, but I'm not sure what to tip, and on what, in that situation. Am I tipping because the clam chowder is a prepared food? Am I tipping the fish guy for de-scaling the fish? If so, how much? Who would get the tip money if I left it? I really have no idea what to do, and the uncertainty has a slight tendency to make me uncomfortable going there.

Back to the wine hybrid place, somehow it feels weird to pay a corkage fee on the wine you buy from that place. I get that it makes sense (you're theoretically paying retail price, not a restaurant list price, and them having you sit there and drink and be served and use stemware has a cost), but it just feels weird somehow - I guess you're used to the idea of corkage being something you pay because you didn't buy the wine from the place. And then you are tipping on the cost of the bottle plus the corkage fee. Lastly, these kinds of places usually seem to have prices that are already moderately higher than true retail places, to begin with. You're paying $60 for a bottle that's $45 at Hi Time or Wine Exchange.

I think the right thing to do is to tip on the cost of the bottle plus corkage, but it's easy to imagine how people are uncertain and uncomfortable in the situation. Or maybe just don't want to deal with it.

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Re: Hybrid wine shops/bars - Vinepair article

#17 Post by David Glasser » November 14th, 2019, 4:17 pm

K John Joseph wrote:
November 14th, 2019, 2:43 pm
David Glasser wrote:
November 14th, 2019, 2:34 pm
I’m making the software available to Berserkers on a subscription basis for the low introductory fee of one bottle of Krug MV per month. The first 100 to sign up will be eligible for a free upgrade to the European version when it becomes available.
But do you have to tip me for the bottle of Krug MV that I provide you each month? Since it's champagne, i'll triple+ retail for my list price, then expect 25% tip. So you'll need to tip me on $475 for the Krug bottle. I'll let you decide whether you tip post 8.25% tax or pre. If after, you'll need to kick me back $128.55. Because you chose Krug.
I’ll answer that question for $603.55. champagne.gif

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Re: Hybrid wine shops/bars - Vinepair article

#18 Post by Chris Seiber » November 14th, 2019, 4:48 pm

Hank Victor wrote:
November 14th, 2019, 2:31 pm
People don't understand the concept of "corkage" in these establishments. From my experience many people don't like to be told that $15 will be added to the sticker label of the bottle they have in their hands.
And often, at these kinds of hybrid places, the prices are already higher than at pure retail places, furthering the confusion about why more price should be added on for opening the wine there.

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Re: Hybrid wine shops/bars - Vinepair article

#19 Post by Brady Daniels » November 14th, 2019, 6:48 pm

Why does anybody find this confusing? If you get service, please tip.

If You drink/eat there, and get a few bottles to take home, tip on what you drank/ate there, not the extra bottles.
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Re: Hybrid wine shops/bars - Vinepair article

#20 Post by Mich@el Ch@ng » November 15th, 2019, 5:25 am

Brady Daniels wrote:
November 14th, 2019, 6:48 pm
Why does anybody find this confusing? If you get service, please tip.

If You drink/eat there, and get a few bottles to take home, tip on what you drank/ate there, not the extra bottles.
So pay tip on the corkage? Or the value of the bottle?

Regarding somms, my understanding is that their compensation at least at places selling expensive wines is salary plus commission on the bottle price. I don’t think they participate in the tip pool the same as servers. I’m not sure you can break out part of the tip as specifically for the somm unless you just hand them cash.

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Re: Hybrid wine shops/bars - Vinepair article

#21 Post by Mich@el Ch@ng » November 15th, 2019, 5:28 am

A. So wrote:
November 13th, 2019, 3:39 pm
Mich@el Ch@ng wrote:
November 13th, 2019, 2:27 pm
it isn’t any more work to pour from a more expensive bottle than a cheaper one, imo.
This is specious. It's not more work to serve a Miyazaki A5 entree than it is to serve a chicken breast.
I don’t think the argument is specious. If I order any drink from the bar that’s not specifically made for me like a cocktail, I’ll typically tip $1-2 cash.

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Re: Hybrid wine shops/bars - Vinepair article

#22 Post by Karl K » November 15th, 2019, 5:34 am

David Glasser wrote:
November 14th, 2019, 4:17 pm
K John Joseph wrote:
November 14th, 2019, 2:43 pm
David Glasser wrote:
November 14th, 2019, 2:34 pm
I’m making the software available to Berserkers on a subscription basis for the low introductory fee of one bottle of Krug MV per month. The first 100 to sign up will be eligible for a free upgrade to the European version when it becomes available.
Sign



But do you have to tip me for the bottle of Krug MV that I provide you each month? Since it's champagne, i'll triple+ retail for my list price, then expect 25% tip. So you'll need to tip me on $475 for the Krug bottle. I'll let you decide whether you tip post 8.25% tax or pre. If after, you'll need to kick me back $128.55. Because you chose Krug.
I’ll answer that question for $603.55. champagne.gif
Sign me up!

You’ve will be providing p/l of the biz, yes?
Last edited by Karl K on November 15th, 2019, 7:01 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Hybrid wine shops/bars - Vinepair article

#23 Post by YLee » November 15th, 2019, 5:36 am

How do we end this tipping nonsense?
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Re: Hybrid wine shops/bars - Vinepair article

#24 Post by David Glasser » November 15th, 2019, 6:46 am

YLee wrote:
November 15th, 2019, 5:36 am
How do we end this tipping nonsense?
Nothing will change until we reach a tipping point.

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Re: Hybrid wine shops/bars - Vinepair article

#25 Post by YLee » November 15th, 2019, 6:56 am

David Glasser wrote:
November 15th, 2019, 6:46 am
YLee wrote:
November 15th, 2019, 5:36 am
How do we end this tipping nonsense?
Nothing will change until we reach a tipping point.
Ha!
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Re: Hybrid wine shops/bars - Vinepair article

#26 Post by Troy Stark » November 15th, 2019, 6:57 am

Mich@el Ch@ng wrote:
November 15th, 2019, 5:25 am

So pay tip on the corkage? Or the value of the bottle?
If we bring our own bottle and pay corkage, we do a sort of "hybrid" tip. We wouldn't ever tip anything LESS than 20% of the corkage, but may tip MORE if the corkage is really low. Basically, our thinking is, how expensive of a bottle would we have bought and tipped on if we had not brought our own? That's the amount we'll tip on as we figure that's what the server is "losing" by us bringing our own.
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Re: Hybrid wine shops/bars - Vinepair article

#27 Post by Troy Stark » November 15th, 2019, 7:00 am

Mich@el Ch@ng wrote:
November 15th, 2019, 5:25 am
Regarding somms, my understanding is that their compensation at least at places selling expensive wines is salary plus commission on the bottle price. I don’t think they participate in the tip pool the same as servers. I’m not sure you can break out part of the tip as specifically for the somm unless you just hand them cash.
I think this is right for most high end places; they track the Somm's sales and pay them salary + commission. Whether the Somm gets in on the tip pool can vary from place to place.
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Re: Hybrid wine shops/bars - Vinepair article

#28 Post by Jason T » November 16th, 2019, 3:06 am

Building on Chris’s example, what do we define as “service”? If I am ordering from a counter - even if it’s a complete meal of food and wine - I’m hard-pressed to understand why I’d tip. In this scenario someone is usually just bringing me the food and I won’t see them again until I go back to the counter to place another order.

But traditional “table service”, where they presumably will come back by and check on me from time to time- no issue tipping there.
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Re: Hybrid wine shops/bars - Vinepair article

#29 Post by B Thorne » November 16th, 2019, 4:34 am

Just think "if my son / daughter / wife / husband / loved one worked here..how much would I tip?" then tip that amount.

Need not over complicate this.
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Re: Hybrid wine shops/bars - Vinepair article

#30 Post by Mich@el Ch@ng » November 16th, 2019, 5:35 am

Jason T wrote:
November 16th, 2019, 3:06 am
Building on Chris’s example, what do we define as “service”? If I am ordering from a counter - even if it’s a complete meal of food and wine - I’m hard-pressed to understand why I’d tip. In this scenario someone is usually just bringing me the food and I won’t see them again until I go back to the counter to place another order.

But traditional “table service”, where they presumably will come back by and check on me from time to time- no issue tipping there.
I’ll typically tip something for counter service, but not 20%. Basically I’ll tip whatever I’d usually put in the tip jar at a coffee shop or whatever.

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Re: Hybrid wine shops/bars - Vinepair article

#31 Post by Michae1 P0wers » November 16th, 2019, 8:14 am

Chris Seiber wrote:
November 14th, 2019, 4:48 pm
Hank Victor wrote:
November 14th, 2019, 2:31 pm
People don't understand the concept of "corkage" in these establishments. From my experience many people don't like to be told that $15 will be added to the sticker label of the bottle they have in their hands.
And often, at these kinds of hybrid places, the prices are already higher than at pure retail places, furthering the confusion about why more price should be added on for opening the wine there.
Many breweries have something like this, with different prices to consume in-house or take home, so that may help to increase familiarity.

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Re: Hybrid wine shops/bars - Vinepair article

#32 Post by Jeff Stettner » November 16th, 2019, 7:58 pm

I owned a very successful hybrid shop like this for 5 years (I sold it to be more of a dad). We were set up as a bar, with all wines stored in two active cellars. Wines were priced on the list in two categories (to-go and in-store), with a standard $9 difference on all bottles. This meant that a $25 retail wine would be $34, a $100 would be $109. From a value standpoint, the more one spent on a bottle the lower the percent markup would be over wholesale (when drinking in the bar). For context, in 2013 (to drink on premise) we had 2009 Lucien Le Moine Amoureuses for $275, 2010 Venge Scout's Honor for $45, 2008 Clape St. Peray for $40, and Tres Picos Grenache for $24.

In our case, the $9 corkage fee was modest but important. We have to have glasses, cleaning supplies, napkins, refrigeration for proper temped wine, etc. all of which are costs that do not exist when one is only doing retail. We paid for music streaming, candles... the list goes on. People would occasionally ask why there were two prices. Nobody ever complained when we explained it. In addition, I would like to think that the ambience was nice, so a little extra cost to enjoy that was a small price to pay.

Our revenue was an almost even split. There were many times where we were able to sell people wine that they enjoyed on the spot, often a case at a time. In those situations, we circled the in-store total on the invoice and pointed it out to the potentially-inebriated customer to ensure that they knew the "tip" amount was only what was consumed in-store.

I had two full-time employees. I covered paid time off and health insurance. Both were in their early 20's when they started and earned between 40-50K per year (depending on hours worked) plus benefits. Employees stayed at least 2 years on average. 90% of their compensation was through tips at the bar.

As for what to tip? Average tips per in-store bill ran right at 25%. This was due (I think) to a focus on good service and repeat business. On the average Friday night we knew 75% of the people that came through the door. We had good tippers and bad tippers. The good tippers were more likely to hear about the bottles not on the list. Again, in 2013 that meant 2011 Vatan Sancere (we had 36 bottles of this) for $80, 2009 DRC Vosne Romanee 1er (6 bottles) for $375 or 2006 Alban Reva (which we were allocated two cases of) for $120.
ITB...

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