Should we BYOB? (Post-COVID)

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Should we BYOB? (Post-COVID)

#1 Post by R. Frankel »

Interesting article by Esther Mobley in the Chronicle:

https://link.sfchronicle.com/view/60386 ... i/7bf06a38

Honestly I’m torn. My pre-Covid habit was to bring bottles to restaurants nearly always, and I would follow most of the ‘rules’ that Esther mentioned. But now things are reopening and clearly the restaurant industry has taken a massive beating. I want to support them.

Maybe I should hold off for a year and buy off lists? What if I just voluntarily pay a higher corkage? I know restaurants lists have shrunk a lot as many local places have sold off their wine to stay afloat. What if they don’t have anything I want to drink? What about restaurants I’ve been to many times that have crappy lists?

I actually haven’t started going to restaurants again, so this is all still a hypothetical. But that will likely change in the next few months. What do people think?
Last edited by R. Frankel on April 4th, 2021, 9:13 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Should we BYOB?

#2 Post by Bdklein »

I think corkage while giving a higher tip/charge seems like a fair balance IMO.
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Re: Should we BYOB?

#3 Post by Michael S. Monie »

If you don't know for sure that there is a reasonably priced bottle that you will enjoy, I'd bring the wine, pay the corkage, and be extra generous with the server.
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Re: Should we BYOB?

#4 Post by Pat P »

Bdklein wrote: April 3rd, 2021, 8:17 am I think corkage while giving a higher tip/charge seems like a fair balance IMO.
+1 This would benefit both the server and the restaurant.
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Re: Should we BYOB?

#5 Post by K_F_o_l_e_y »

Absolutely not. In many cases it is unlikely anything you would do would match the markup the restaurant would have made (certainly not tipping more, which goes to the server, which is a different topic).

I haven't BYOBed since Jan 2020 (although admittedly part of that is due to the lockdown).
Last edited by K_F_o_l_e_y on April 3rd, 2021, 9:14 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Should we BYOB?

#6 Post by Michael S. Monie »

K_F_o_l_e_y wrote: April 3rd, 2021, 9:05 am Absolutely not. In many cases it is unlikely anything you would do would match the markup the restaurant would have made (certainly not tipping more).

I haven't BYOBed since Jan 2020 (although admittedly part of that is due to the lockdown).
Perhaps it would match or exceed what beer or iced tea drinkers would spend.
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Re: Should we BYOB?

#7 Post by Tom G l a s g o w »

K_F_o_l_e_y wrote: April 3rd, 2021, 9:05 am Absolutely not. In many cases it is unlikely anything you would do would match the markup the restaurant would have made (certainly not tipping more).

I haven't BYOBed since Jan 2020 (although admittedly part of that is due to the lockdown).
What are markups like in Boston? I’m sure you remember what Philly markups are like.

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Re: Should we BYOB?

#8 Post by K_F_o_l_e_y »

Tom G l a s g o w wrote: April 3rd, 2021, 9:13 am
K_F_o_l_e_y wrote: April 3rd, 2021, 9:05 am Absolutely not. In many cases it is unlikely anything you would do would match the markup the restaurant would have made (certainly not tipping more).

I haven't BYOBed since Jan 2020 (although admittedly part of that is due to the lockdown).
What are markups like in Boston? I’m sure you remember what Philly markups are like.
Don't get me started on Massachusetts!

I do remember being annoyed when my favorite Philly restaurant instituted a $2 corkage fee lol.
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Re: Should we BYOB?

#9 Post by Sarah Kirschbaum »

We are planning to take it on a case by case basis. We went to a restaurant in NYC recently, one we love and want to support, and the 4 of us brought 5 bottles, at $75 each corkage. Had we been buying off the list, we would have drunk a lot less, so we felt okay about that. The next night we went just the two of us to a place where we probably would have brought a bottle and paid the $60 corkage under normal circumstances, but chose to order something pleasant off the list instead. We don't really go to restaurants where there is nothing at all we could enjoy on the list.

It hasn't come up so much yet. I expect we'll do bring one/buy one most of the time.
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Re: Should we BYOB?

#10 Post by Alex Valdes »

K_F_o_l_e_y wrote: April 3rd, 2021, 9:17 am
Tom G l a s g o w wrote: April 3rd, 2021, 9:13 am
K_F_o_l_e_y wrote: April 3rd, 2021, 9:05 am Absolutely not. In many cases it is unlikely anything you would do would match the markup the restaurant would have made (certainly not tipping more).

I haven't BYOBed since Jan 2020 (although admittedly part of that is due to the lockdown).
What are markups like in Boston? I’m sure you remember what Philly markups are like.
Don't get me started on Massachusetts!

I do remember being annoyed when my favorite Philly restaurant instituted a $2 corkage fee lol.
Isn’t BYOB not allowed in MA?

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Re: Should we BYOB?

#11 Post by K_F_o_l_e_y »

Alex Valdes wrote: April 3rd, 2021, 9:25 am
K_F_o_l_e_y wrote: April 3rd, 2021, 9:17 am
Tom G l a s g o w wrote: April 3rd, 2021, 9:13 am
What are markups like in Boston? I’m sure you remember what Philly markups are like.
Don't get me started on Massachusetts!

I do remember being annoyed when my favorite Philly restaurant instituted a $2 corkage fee lol.
Isn’t BYOB not allowed in MA?
Your point is? champagne.gif
Cheers,
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Re: Should we BYOB?

#12 Post by ybarselah »

kind of a strange gatekeeper article but the one she referenced inside is beyond obnoxious.

but both miss the mark in the same way; a business chooses how to run its business. it won't ever be more or less complicated than that. if you want to bring, call in advance to confirm, get a name preferably. arrive on time, tip well, be a nice person, don't camp out, etc.
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Re: Should we BYOB?

#13 Post by Chris Seiber »

No restaurant is required to allow corkage. They presumably choose to do it because they believe it’s a net plus for their overall business. So I don’t really understand why so many wine geeks are guilt-ridden about doing it, as though we are taking advantage of the restaurant or getting away with something.

By all means, if you want to buy more from them to support them, whether buying wine, more food, more dessert, going more often, tipping more, then it’s your money and your choice. But I don’t think you need to feel as though corkage in particular is something wrong to do right now.

Just my personal view. Of course everyone can follow their own feelings on the subject.

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Re: Should we BYOB?

#14 Post by K_F_o_l_e_y »

Chris Seiber wrote: April 3rd, 2021, 9:31 am No restaurant is required to allow corkage. They presumably choose to do it because they believe it’s a net plus for their overall business. So I don’t really understand why so many wine geeks are guilt-ridden about doing it, as though we are taking advantage of the restaurant or getting away with something.

By all means, if you want to buy more from them to support them, whether buying wine, more food, more dessert, going more often, tipping more, then it’s your money and your choice. But I don’t think you need to feel as though corkage in particular is something wrong to do right now.

Just my personal view. Of course everyone can follow their own feelings on the subject.
Thank you, I now feel better about not tipping.
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Re: Should we BYOB?

#15 Post by G. D y e r »

Sarah Kirschbaum wrote: April 3rd, 2021, 9:20 am We are planning to take it on a case by case basis. We went to a restaurant in NYC recently, one we love and want to support, and the 4 of us brought 5 bottles, at $75 each corkage. Had we been buying off the list, we would have drunk a lot less, so we felt okay about that. The next night we went just the two of us to a place where we probably would have brought a bottle and paid the $60 corkage under normal circumstances, but chose to order something pleasant off the list instead. We don't really go to restaurants where there is nothing at all we could enjoy on the list.

It hasn't come up so much yet. I expect we'll do bring one/buy one most of the time.
At $60 or $75 corkage per bottle, I don't see how a restaurant could have much complaint with BYOB. That's around 2x-4x what I'd consider typical.

Which comes to the following point: a restaurant should set its corkage fee based on what makes economic sense for its business.

Don't want customers to bring wine or want to preserve the wine list markup? Set a high corkage see to discourage use of that option.

If a restaurant has a generic and/or overpriced wine list and $20 corkage, then the outcome is not hard to predict. If a restaurant has a sommelier-curated wine list and $50+ corkage, then it should be a win-win scenario.
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Re: Should we BYOB?

#16 Post by Mattstolz »

i have always viewed corkage as an overall plus for the restaurant when I utilize it. if I buy a bottle off the list, it will likely be A BOTTLE and likely one of the cheaper ones. When we bring something for corkage, typically we dont feel bad about getting a cocktail first, or a glass or two to proceed it, or do corkage for multiple bottles, plus we then tip well because the overall experience was better with our wine that i pre-selected to match the food that i likely had already looked at the menu ahead of time to decide on. we also typically share the wine with anyone willing to try it. so one cheap bottle at restaurant markup vs likely a couple cocktails, multiple corkages, plus a better tip and experience, plus tastes for staff... i know which i'd choose if i was the restaurant.

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Re: Should we BYOB?

#17 Post by G. D y e r »

K_F_o_l_e_y wrote: April 3rd, 2021, 9:35 am
Chris Seiber wrote: April 3rd, 2021, 9:31 am No restaurant is required to allow corkage. They presumably choose to do it because they believe it’s a net plus for their overall business. So I don’t really understand why so many wine geeks are guilt-ridden about doing it, as though we are taking advantage of the restaurant or getting away with something.

By all means, if you want to buy more from them to support them, whether buying wine, more food, more dessert, going more often, tipping more, then it’s your money and your choice. But I don’t think you need to feel as though corkage in particular is something wrong to do right now.

Just my personal view. Of course everyone can follow their own feelings on the subject.
Thank you, I now feel better about not tipping.
Very fallacious argument.

There is no scenario where not tipping is an ethical option.

The closest analogy for corkage vs buy from list, regarding tipping, would be a restaurant having 'all in' menu prices, tip already included such as gratuity, vs a 'tip afterward' with lower menu prices. And a customer choosing the latter, then not tipping.

The scenario you imply is analogous to bringing a bottle, then refusing to pay corkage.
Last edited by G. D y e r on April 3rd, 2021, 10:30 am, edited 1 time in total.
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In that way, he is like cornerback Darrelle Revis, deserving of his own island, Mangold Island, if you will. “That would be a rusty, filthy island where people wear ripped jeans and stay in hotel rooms that are half price,” tight end Dustin Keller said. “But they would serve wine, and only the finest for Nick Mangold.”

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Re: Should we BYOB?

#18 Post by Andrew K. »

Didn't we already have this thread last year?

It was just as dichotomous then.
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Re: Should we BYOB?

#19 Post by Sarah Kirschbaum »

Even if we did, I for one am interested to hear current opinions and plans now that dining out is becoming a reality again for many of us.
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Re: Should we BYOB?

#20 Post by T Welch »

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Re: Should we BYOB?

#21 Post by T&om c&lement »

K_F_o_l_e_y wrote: April 3rd, 2021, 9:35 am
Chris Seiber wrote: April 3rd, 2021, 9:31 am No restaurant is required to allow corkage. They presumably choose to do it because they believe it’s a net plus for their overall business. So I don’t really understand why so many wine geeks are guilt-ridden about doing it, as though we are taking advantage of the restaurant or getting away with something.

By all means, if you want to buy more from them to support them, whether buying wine, more food, more dessert, going more often, tipping more, then it’s your money and your choice. But I don’t think you need to feel as though corkage in particular is something wrong to do right now.

Just my personal view. Of course everyone can follow their own feelings on the subject.
Thank you, I now feel better about not tipping.
Ok, just to make sure I understand...

Publicly stating you will not buy someone’s wine, who significantly contributes to this forum, because of a post they made (see 00 corton charlemagne 2017 thread) is ok.

Being a member of this forum for 10+ years and not contributing to be a grand cru member is ok.

Bringing wine to a restaurant that allows corkage is basically evil and equivalent to not tipping.

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Re: Should we BYOB?

#22 Post by Rodrigo B »

I'm torn on this. Restaurants have obviously suffered a lot financially this past year, and beverage programs has always been where they've made their money, so supporting the establishments you like also means being cognisant of factors that drive their long term financial viability.

I think it's going to be on a case by case basis with a heavy lean away from BYOB if possible. Aside from the normal variables of how well priced their wine list is and whether I enjoy the wines there, I suspect my BYOB decisions are also going to be in part influenced by how much the corkage is. I suspect I'd feel much more comfortable BYOB at a restaurant that charges a $75 corkage than doing so at a place that offers it for free.

I suspect that many restaurants trying to rebound are going to make changes to their corkage policies and prices as they look to rebound. Will have to wait and see.
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Re: Should we BYOB?

#23 Post by Albert R »

Pat P wrote: April 3rd, 2021, 8:19 am
Bdklein wrote: April 3rd, 2021, 8:17 am I think corkage while giving a higher tip/charge seems like a fair balance IMO.
+1 This would benefit both the server and the restaurant.
+2, as long as the service was good the waiter/waitress gets a much higher tip.
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Re: Should we BYOB?

#24 Post by D@ve D y r 0 f f »

It seems silly to me to drink something you don't want to drink off the list instead of bringing something you do want to drink and enjoying it (within the rules of the establishment, following good corkage etiquette, etc.).

If you feel that paying list price for your meal and corkage is less than you want to give the house because of the pandemic, buy a gift card or gift certificate and then just never use it. If you feel that your normal tip is less than you want to give the staff because of the pandemic, tip more. I'd rather pay $25 corkage and buy a $25 gift card I'll never use, and drink the aged wine from my cellar that I want to drink, than buy a young bottle off the list that I don't want to drink, just to give the house a sale at a $50 markup.
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Re: Should we BYOB?

#25 Post by Alex Valdes »

K_F_o_l_e_y wrote: April 3rd, 2021, 9:28 am
Alex Valdes wrote: April 3rd, 2021, 9:25 am
K_F_o_l_e_y wrote: April 3rd, 2021, 9:17 am

Don't get me started on Massachusetts!

I do remember being annoyed when my favorite Philly restaurant instituted a $2 corkage fee lol.
Isn’t BYOB not allowed in MA?
Your point is? champagne.gif
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Re: Should we BYOB?

#26 Post by Michael S. Monie »

When this question arises I sometimes think that we myopically assume that the majority of restaurant patrons order bottles of wine. With the host of drink options including: non-alcoholic, beer, cocktails, and wine by the glass, it would be interesting to know what percentage of diners do order a bottle or bottles. It would seem to me from the restaurant's perspective at this time "butts in chairs" would be the priority.
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Re: Should we BYOB?

#27 Post by Ian Dorin »

I think there is a huge sea change coming for restaurants. I think the role of the Somm is going to dramatically change, as is the buying. Somms will have to wear 2 hats, and inventories will be much more closely scrutinized. There is going to be a short list of restaurants that will still showcase the type of list we may have seen in the past.

BTW, her comment about "wine collector entitlement" is COMPLETELY obnoxious. She cuts out the part were the "Somm tax" takes place when you bring a baller bottle. THAT is obnoxious, not someone bring a special bottle.
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Re: Should we BYOB?

#28 Post by Keith A k e r s »

Mattstolz wrote: April 3rd, 2021, 9:52 am i have always viewed corkage as an overall plus for the restaurant when I utilize it. if I buy a bottle off the list, it will likely be A BOTTLE and likely one of the cheaper ones. When we bring something for corkage, typically we dont feel bad about getting a cocktail first, or a glass or two to proceed it, or do corkage for multiple bottles, plus we then tip well because the overall experience was better with our wine that i pre-selected to match the food that i likely had already looked at the menu ahead of time to decide on. we also typically share the wine with anyone willing to try it. so one cheap bottle at restaurant markup vs likely a couple cocktails, multiple corkages, plus a better tip and experience, plus tastes for staff... i know which i'd choose if i was the restaurant.


bolded is really key. Putting money into those areas are where the restaurant actually makes money.


I'm already seeing it at places that used to have good and smart lists, but lists are becoming leaner and meaner. Restaurants will likely focus on wines that move much more quickly and will keep less inventory. Stuff that is by the bottle sells a lot slower than btg. So, I didn't have an issue bringing in my own wines and paying corkage before and won't going forward. The restaurant is making money off of me anyway, so I may as well enjoy my time in the restaurant.

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Re: Should we BYOB?

#29 Post by Arv R »

K_F_o_l_e_y wrote: April 3rd, 2021, 9:35 am
Thank you, I now feel better about not tipping.
d
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Re: Should we BYOB?

#30 Post by Robert.A.Jr. »

My habits have not changed, I continue to bring special bottles to places when I want - Orlando restaurants are generally very liberal on this, yay - but I have also increased my tipping significantly this year (from 20-25% to 30%+ if warranted). I have no issue with corkage, hit me with it. I also tip on the wine I bring, and offer the server or the Somm a pour. Whether it is my wife and I, or our with our friends, invariably we start with cocktails, buy a bottle or off the list, etc. I have not had a single comment or facial expression that communicated to me that this was not cool. Now admittedly, I do not think restaurants in FL were as smacked as places elsewhere. Most have stayed open, and many Floridians were still eating out. I would like to think that most people that BYOB are like people on this Board, gracious and generous. If people are being in crap wines just to a void markups, and do not tip well, then that’s pretty sad. But that’s also society.

My buddies and I ate at Ruth’s Chris a week or so ago, was a wine gathering. We called ahead. We ordered cocktails. We also had some pretty pricey steaks. I cannot recall whether we were charged corkage, a buddy grabbed the check, but we did tip 50% cash to the server as we camped at that table all night. We also gave him a very nice bottle of wine, since he was not allowed to enjoy wines with us during his work. The restaurant, on this Wednesday, was only about 1/3 full. I’m sure the place was happy for the business, and the manager did swing by to say hi.
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Re: Should we BYOB?

#31 Post by Tom G l a s g o w »

Arv R wrote: April 3rd, 2021, 11:30 am
K_F_o_l_e_y wrote: April 3rd, 2021, 9:35 am
Thank you, I now feel better about not tipping.
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Re: Should we BYOB?

#32 Post by J. Rock »

It's not your responsibility to keep restaurants in business (unless you work for one). Go enjoy the meal how you like and let them worry about running a successful business. If anything, I think it's insulting that you don't trust a business to succeed if the business model they put a lot of thought into allows free BYOB or inexpensive/moderately priced corkage.

As someone who was eating out long before I enjoyed wine, I would almost always have food without any alcoholic beverage (usually just water), just like I would at home, and I never felt bad for only spending money on their food and service and they never made me feel bad or expressed that they didn't want my business.

Once restaurants reopen / I'm vaccinated, there are very few I'll go to if they won't allow BYOB since I already have a ton of bottles that I love and want to have with my meals, and most restaurants don't have a ton that excite me. The fact that they allow me to bring my own wine goes a long way to earn my business, but if that's not how they want to do business, they don't need to allow BYOB.

If you want to only buy off the list, order only the highest margin dishes, tip way more than average, buy a ton of gift cards, etc. more power to you, but I think people are over thinking things by trying to figure out what unofficial rules they should make up and follow (other than be a respectful and well behaved patron).
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Re: Should we BYOB?

#33 Post by john stimson »

We are trying to support the restaurants in any way possible, so we are doing cocktails, wines BTG, bottles off the list and not BYOB (in addition to donating to local food worker support organizations). I don't have to have the perfect wine with the perfect food every night. If the list is horrible, then we just do cocktails all of the way thru, or we sample taste the BTG list much of the way thru. If folks buy more off the list, it might incentivize the establishment to build it out more again. We're still at 50% capacity limit here, so just getting butts in chairs isn't enough alone to make it work.

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Re: Should we BYOB?

#34 Post by NED VALOIS »

Bring Great wines, Tip like a ROCK Star ! [cheers.gif] [drinkers.gif]

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Re: Should we BYOB?

#35 Post by CJ Beazley »

Robert.A.Jr. wrote: April 3rd, 2021, 11:40 am My habits have not changed, I continue to bring special bottles to places when I want - Orlando restaurants are generally very liberal on this, yay - but I have also increased my tipping significantly this year (from 20-25% to 30%+ if warranted). I have no issue with corkage, hit me with it. I also tip on the wine I bring, and offer the server or the Somm a pour. Whether it is my wife and I, or our with our friends, invariably we start with cocktails, buy a bottle or off the list, etc. I have not had a single comment or facial expression that communicated to me that this was not cool. Now admittedly, I do not think restaurants in FL were as smacked as places elsewhere. Most have stayed open, and many Floridians were still eating out. I would like to think that most people that BYOB are like people on this Board, gracious and generous. If people are being in crap wines just to a void markups, and do not tip well, then that’s pretty sad. But that’s also society.

My buddies and I ate at Ruth’s Chris a week or so ago, was a wine gathering. We called ahead. We ordered cocktails. We also had some pretty pricey steaks. I cannot recall whether we were charged corkage, a buddy grabbed the check, but we did tip 50% cash to the server as we camped at that table all night. We also gave him a very nice bottle of wine, since he was not allowed to enjoy wines with us during his work. The restaurant, on this Wednesday, was only about 1/3 full. I’m sure the place was happy for the business, and the manager did swing by to say hi.
I haven’t been to one in years and years, how were the steaks & food in general?
*did you even bother to check out their list?
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Re: Should we BYOB?

#36 Post by Robert.A.Jr. »

J. Rock wrote: April 3rd, 2021, 11:46 am It's not your responsibility to keep restaurants in business (unless you work for one). Go enjoy the meal how you like and let them worry about running a successful business. If anything, I think it's insulting that you don't trust a business to succeed if the business model they put a lot of thought into allows free BYOB or inexpensive/moderately priced corkage.

As someone who was eating out long before I enjoyed wine, I would almost always have food without any alcoholic beverage (usually just water), just like I would at home, and I never felt bad for only spending money on their food and service and they never made me feel bad or expressed that they didn't want my business.

Once restaurants reopen / I'm vaccinated, there are very few I'll go to if they won't allow BYOB since I already have a ton of bottles that I love and want to have with my meals, and most restaurants don't have a ton that excite me. The fact that they allow me to bring my own wine goes a long way to earn my business, but if that's not how they want to do business, they don't need to allow BYOB.

If you want to only buy off the list, order only the highest margin dishes, tip way more than average, buy a ton of gift cards, etc. more power to you, but I think people are over thinking things by trying to figure out what unofficial rules they should make up and follow (other than be a respectful and well behaved patron).

I agree with most of what you said, but do want to comment on the tipping, since you flagged an issue that I recommending doing. At least add some tip based on some reasonable valuation of your bottle, or perhaps the value of a bottle you would buy if you came without wine, as the server is working to bring you the wine, uncork it, serve it, extra glasses, maybe decanting, etc. More involved than just service of water.
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Re: Should we BYOB?

#37 Post by Mich@el Ch@ng »

I will continue to bring wine, and generally have been tipping a little more since Covid

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Re: Should we BYOB?

#38 Post by Ryan Gilmour »

I would argue, with restaurants struggling so much this past year should we really be drinking that bottle of wine at home, when we could take it to a restaurant and order food and pay corkage? I have 2 local restaurants that allow me to do corkage and I end up supporting them way more because of it. I rarely go to other restaurants, I go there atleast 2x more than I would otherwise, I share the wines with the owner/staff, I always order another drink of some sort, I tip 30%+, and when allowed I bring friends and host small events there. Unfortunately our restaurants are going the other way and were just told with 12 hours notice they couldnt have indoor dining for 3 weeks. I reached out to both those restaurants immediately and arranged big take out orders.

Unless the restaurant has a waitlist and you're taking the seat of someone who would be spending more on mark up than your corkage isnt it a net gain?

Sorry, rant over.

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Re: Should we BYOB?

#39 Post by Marshall Manning »

Unless we have a special occasion (or special bottle we specifically want to open), wine geek dinner or something like that we usually buy off the list. So 90% of the time we're buying off the list anyway. I don't do BYOB just to be cheap, only to open something special. Most restaurants in Portland only charge $20-25 for corkage, so it's not a huge moneymaker for them, and as Sarah mentioned, most of the restaurants we want to visit have a good enough wine list that we can find something we like. I also like using restaurants as a way to try new wines that my local shops may not have turned me on to. Just last night we had a delicious 2015 Meridio Liama from Sicily that I don't remember seeing around town and it was around $40 on the list.
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Re: Should we BYOB?

#40 Post by Marshall Manning »

J. Rock wrote: April 3rd, 2021, 11:46 am Once restaurants reopen / I'm vaccinated, there are very few I'll go to if they won't allow BYOB since I already have a ton of bottles that I love and want to have with my meals, and most restaurants don't have a ton that excite me. The fact that they allow me to bring my own wine goes a long way to earn my business, but if that's not how they want to do business, they don't need to allow BYOB.
Jordan, I agree with your post, but wanted to suggest using the restaurant lists to try things that you aren't familiar with. Maybe you will get excited about other wines that you didn't know you would be excited about?
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Re: Should we BYOB?

#41 Post by Ethan Abraham »

I've BYOed to the two restaurant I've been to in the last few weeks. Happy to pay the corkage and the corkage amount at both was comparable to the margin of anything I would have ordered off the list.

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Re: Should we BYOB?

#42 Post by Mich@el Ch@ng »

Marshall Manning wrote: April 3rd, 2021, 12:23 pm Unless we have a special occasion (or special bottle we specifically want to open), wine geek dinner or something like that we usually buy off the list. So 90% of the time we're buying off the list anyway. I don't do BYOB just to be cheap, only to open something special. Most restaurants in Portland only charge $20-25 for corkage, so it's not a huge moneymaker for them, and as Sarah mentioned, most of the restaurants we want to visit have a good enough wine list that we can find something we like. I also like using restaurants as a way to try new wines that my local shops may not have turned me on to. Just last night we had a delicious 2015 Meridio Liama from Sicily that I don't remember seeing around town and it was around $40 on the list.
I guess it depends what you drink. I don’t dine out that much with a young toddler at home so basically if we go out it’s somewhere nice with a multicourse menu or small plates and I’ll be drinking grand cru burg, grande marque champagne or both usually with some bottle age; even if the restaurant had it on the list it’d be at 3-5x retail. No thanks.

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Re: Should we BYOB?

#43 Post by roybehr »

In Los Angeles, several of my favorite restaurants that used to allow corkage have temporarily banned it, saying it is forbidden by City or County rules. I have no idea whether that's true, but I don't particularly mind it because they have quality lists and they are individually owned and I want to support them. Even if they allowed corkage, I would be judicious in using it and buy another bottle off the list. Tonight, I am going to a very unique situation - a restaurant with a mediocre list, that was created as a pop-up two years ago in a space that is scheduled to be torn down and has no plans to come back afterwards. Their corkage is $25, so we will bring several bottles and tip well, but not lose sleep over whether the owners can hold on. I wouldn't fault them for a second if they increased corkage to $50, but they chose not to, which I read as an intentional decision on their part.

I do wonder whether it's ok to be a little more aggressive in bringing outside wine to large chains - like Ruth's Chris - some of which took advantage of the PPP program, and rarely have anything special on the list. If a restaurant mostly has Silver Oak, Caymus, and misc lookalikes, doesn't that allow for different behavior than a one-off neighborhood place with a thoughtful list and an uncertain future?

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Re: Should we BYOB?

#44 Post by David K o l i n »

As a general rule, I won’t pay US restaurant markups on wine as a matter of principle. Although there are many exceptions, the markups are larcenous and the wines, much too young

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Re: Should we BYOB?

#45 Post by Victor Hong »

What about cakeage?
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Re: Should we BYOB?

#46 Post by Michael S. Monie »

Victor Hong wrote: April 3rd, 2021, 1:33 pm What about cakeage?
Of course. Aren't you aware of the margin restaurants make on dessert?
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Re: Should we BYOB?

#47 Post by JosephW »

They should be happy they are getting business and not unhappy you aren't being gouged for wine. It isn't a charity and you don't owe them anything. If it's an issue, take your business elsewhere.
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Re: Should we BYOB?

#48 Post by Adam Powadiuk »

The restaurants struggled this last year, but so did many of the patrons. Corkage could allow some diners a night (or two) out without breaking the bank. For the restaurant it could mean an empty table vs a full one.

Also, we have no visibility on their margins or business strategy. Corkage is on the menu for a reason, and it is to benefit the restaurant in some way. Use it freely and tip well.

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Re: Should we BYOB?

#49 Post by Tom R W »

I can’t read the article through the paywall- but in the 5 second glance I got at the first paragraph the author seems to outright state that it’s rude to BYOB right now? Did I get that right?
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Re: Should we BYOB?

#50 Post by Eric White »

Tom R W wrote: April 3rd, 2021, 2:24 pm I can’t read the article through the paywall- but in the 5 second glance I got at the first paragraph the author seems to outright state that it’s rude to BYOB right now? Did I get that right?
That's about the sum of it. I find the article incredibly arrogant, and I don't buy that she speaks for most establishments. The restaurant sets the policy, if corkage didn't work out for them they wouldn't allow it.

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