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The short answer, I guess, is ten dollars. At least that’s what you would pay at retail. But when you order it at a restaurant, that same bottle will usually cost you north of thirty dollars. That’s how restaurants usually mark up their wines; two and one half to three times wholesale.
(And it’s amazing how we smack our lips at this great restaurant value, whereas if we had the identical at home for ten bucks, we could consider it, at most, a pleasant table wine.)
Restaurants do this for several reasons, the most important being because they can. And yes, it costs a restaurant more to serve the wine than your simply uncorking (unscrewing?) the bottle at home. Which is also certainly true of all the food they offer. It’s just that somehow you don’t mind paying for food that is prepared better than you could, served to you, and with no dishes to wash. As compared to their simply presenting you with a bottle no different than you could buy yourself.
This article in Wine Enthusiast goes into great detail about wine markups. They quote Trevor Hertrich, a wine buyer for a large retail store in Denver, who says high markups are a matter of convention.
Which is where your opportunity lies, whether you are selling wine or whimsy. Examine your pricing structure, and see if there is an opportunity to build volume by shifting your price. Don’t just follow the “conventional” pricing rules, simply because that ‘s what everyone in your industry does.
I seem to dimly recall a chain of restaurants in Paris that offered their wines at cost. The fact that they are no longer in business is not necessarily proof that their idea was a bad one; there are several other possible causes. And I am not suggesting you offer the same startling pricing, though they got more press in a week than you may have gotten in the life of your restaurant.
In fact, there are several eat-in wine bars in Paris currently, which unlike traditional restaurants, charge only a corkage fee, though you do have to buy their wine.
Spend some time and figure out how you can break out of the pricing mold. At the very least, it may lead you to several good marketing ideas…even those that have nothing to do with wine.
Got the idea?