Why is wine so expensive in restaurants?
Our family business had a restaurant for 40 years, although my grandfather started with a pub back in 1950. The wines in the restaurant were mainly French, Spanish, German and Italian, the Old World wines, as opposed to the world wide range of wines available today.
But one complaint about wine remains unchanged throughout the years,
“Why is wine sooo expensive in a restaurant compared to the off license prices …?”
Lets take a quick look at some typical restaurant prices
Vodka £ 3-00 so a vodka and coke will cost you £4-00 to £5-00 (depending on how much coke you like in your spirits)
Pint of Beer £ 3-40
Bt of Budweiser £ 2-90
¼ bt of wine £ 3-50 or a bt of wine at 14-00
Lets look at the off license prices
Vodka - there are 28.5 35ml measures in a litre (Northern Ireland measures are 35ml) so that means a restaurant is charging you £ 85-50 for a litre of vodka compared to about £ 18, nearly 5 times as much.
Pints - 1 pint is 568ml, a can of beer say Carlsberg is typically 12 for 7-99 for 440 ml, this means a pint of Carlsberg poured from a can is 86p, this means the restaurant is nearly 4 times as much.
Bt of Budweiser - 30cl Budweiser is typically 15 for 10-99, restaurants use a slightly bigger bt of 33cl, this means 33cl of Budweiser poured from off license stock is 80p, the restaurant is nearly 3.5 times as much.
Bt of wine - Typically you are paying £ 14 for a £ 5-50 wine when it is on offer, only 2.5 times as much.
I have based the prices of items as they are in Northern Ireland, assuming they are proportionally similar in the rest of the UK. Obviously prices vary widely in restaurants, both by location and how exclusive the restaurant is.
Next time you are out in a swanky restaurant, check out the price for a vodka and coke, it goes up just as much as the wine !!!!
I highlighted this information in my introduction to a wine tasting evening I was holding, and I got a very good question posed to me. “How can restaurants justify such remarkably high mark ups for drink?” Calculating fixed and variable overheads etc etc is very complicated, so I used a slightly simpler approach. “There are numerous restaurants and bars being closed or going bust all overBritain, so the profit margins cannot be excessive, but simply reflect the additional costs involved with the different level of service”.
I only give you this information because, if you are reading this, you’re interested in wine, and this is definitely useful information for all wine lovers.
It is what we have always tried to do in business
…To be smart, be creative, be open, be fair and help your customer to find what they need.