Increased corkage post-COVID?

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Matt Mauldin
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Re: Increased corkage post-COVID?

#51 Post by Matt Mauldin » August 4th, 2020, 8:24 pm

Nick Christie wrote:
August 4th, 2020, 5:13 pm
I know I'm just the young(ish) guy who mostly GIF comments, but I'm very much... unamused that a thread about Corkage can become filled with name-calling and shame-spiraling in under 30 posts.

Andrew, or anybody who asks a reasonable question, deserves to have either a reasonable reply in return or silence. No one starts a thread to get called a name, and I believe he deserves more protection than has been given thus far. My opinion, of course. Hopefully not an uncommon one.
In fairness, I think the use of "money grab" in the OP set the tone of the thread.
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Re: Increased corkage post-COVID?

#52 Post by Andrew K. » August 4th, 2020, 8:31 pm

Matt Mauldin wrote:
August 4th, 2020, 8:24 pm
In fairness, I think the use of "money grab" in the OP set the tone of the thread.
Is a community dedicated to fine wine really so ridiculously sensitive to money? I would conjure every single person here is in the 1% of the world. Maybe we're all just so ashamed of our privilege, we feel the need to shame and demean others? Does that make us feel better about our success?
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Re: Increased corkage post-COVID?

#53 Post by Matt Mauldin » August 4th, 2020, 8:36 pm

Not me, Andrew. I work in the wine business. Often working closely with restaurants and those selling wine to them, so my perspective is coming from seeing many of my business partners and friends seriously struggling.

Does my calling out the use of the term "money grab" as provocative really count as shaming and demeaning others?
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Re: Increased corkage post-COVID?

#54 Post by Andrew K. » August 4th, 2020, 8:39 pm

Matt Mauldin wrote:
August 4th, 2020, 8:36 pm
Does my calling out the use of the term "money grab" as provocative really count as shaming and demeaning others?
No not at all. I was referring to the tone of the thread.
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Re: Increased corkage post-COVID?

#55 Post by Jeremy Holmes » August 4th, 2020, 8:45 pm

The restaurant sector has been hit hard during lockdowns all around the world. Those with the fortitude to keep serving us wine nerds, and allowing us to BYO can ask for a reasonable corkage I reckon.
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Re: Increased corkage post-COVID?

#56 Post by Matt Mauldin » August 4th, 2020, 8:48 pm

Andrew, some of the reactions were a little strong, but there's a contingent here of people ITB or who are otherwise sympathetic to restaurants. Combine that with people's generally more heightened sensitivity with things related to Covid, and it's easy for things to go sideways over a provocative comment.
Last edited by Matt Mauldin on August 4th, 2020, 9:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Increased corkage post-COVID?

#57 Post by Craig G » August 4th, 2020, 8:51 pm

Andrew K. wrote:
August 4th, 2020, 8:31 pm
Is a community dedicated to fine wine really so ridiculously sensitive to money?
Curious that you should ask that when your original post is so sensitive to money.
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Re: Increased corkage post-COVID?

#58 Post by Max S. » August 4th, 2020, 8:55 pm

Craig G wrote:
August 4th, 2020, 8:51 pm
Andrew K. wrote:
August 4th, 2020, 8:31 pm
Is a community dedicated to fine wine really so ridiculously sensitive to money?
Curious that you should ask that when your original post is so sensitive to money.
Yep
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Re: Increased corkage post-COVID?

#59 Post by john stimson » August 4th, 2020, 9:01 pm

Andrew K. wrote:
August 4th, 2020, 8:39 pm
Matt Mauldin wrote:
August 4th, 2020, 8:36 pm
Does my calling out the use of the term "money grab" as provocative really count as shaming and demeaning others?
No not at all. I was referring to the tone of the thread.
I don't really understand why you don't understand the tone of the thread, which you actually created. I found the money grab comment offensive as well, but chose not to enter the thread because I didn't like the attitude you created based upon that comment. If you don't understand that it's instead a grab for a life-ring, perhaps you may want to re-examine your perspective. Certainly, you have the right to your opinion, but don't be surprised if that opinion creates strong reactions.

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Re: Increased corkage post-COVID?

#60 Post by Arv R » August 4th, 2020, 9:13 pm

Not really fair to attack OP for comments that are not in this thread, or over their avatar either.

That's like Squires
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Re: Increased corkage post-COVID?

#61 Post by Andrew K. » August 4th, 2020, 9:22 pm

Craig G wrote:
August 4th, 2020, 8:51 pm
Curious that you should ask that when your original post is so sensitive to money.
Diving right into the topic of money and money grabs is hardly sensitive to money. Discussing value and cost is not the same as being emotionally charged about the topic.
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Re: Increased corkage post-COVID?

#62 Post by Andrew K. » August 4th, 2020, 9:28 pm

Matt Mauldin wrote:
August 4th, 2020, 8:48 pm
Andrew, some of the reactions were a little strong, but there's a contingent here of people ITB or who are otherwise sympathetic to restaurants. Combine that with people's generally more heightened sensitivity with things related to to Covid, and it's easy for things to go sideways over a provocative comment.
Yeah that's fair man. I'm sad that a simple phrase tacked at the end of a post can set so many people on tilt, but I certainly understand the sentiment in the industry. This wasn't to be part of my thread but I actually contacted the somm because I wanted to know what would be best for them - if he'd rather I BYO with corkage or they were trying to encourage in house purchases with specials. I was definitely a bit turned off in what I perceived to be double dipping IMO, but I always planned on supporting them with a tasting or bottle purchase.
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Re: Increased corkage post-COVID?

#63 Post by Craig G » August 4th, 2020, 9:31 pm

Andrew K. wrote:
August 4th, 2020, 9:22 pm
Craig G wrote:
August 4th, 2020, 8:51 pm
Curious that you should ask that when your original post is so sensitive to money.
Diving right into the topic of money and money grabs is hardly sensitive to money. Discussing value and cost is not the same as being emotionally charged about the topic.
Let’s just say we might expect a “frequent DRC buyer” to be a little more considerate when restaurants are in existential danger. But feel free to keep digging.
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Re: Increased corkage post-COVID?

#64 Post by john stimson » August 4th, 2020, 9:38 pm

Andrew--I thought about this a little longer, and perhaps not all of us are on the same page. Georgia, if I'm remembering correctly, didn't really shut down much with COVid. But realize in other parts of the country and the world, the situation is radically different. In Seattle, restaurants were shut down totally for an extended period of time. some have done limited take-out. Now they are open for limited outdoor dining, with a few inside tables allowed, but still for almost all, a money losing proposition. Numerous restaurants have already gone out of business, even in strong restaurant chains. Many restaurant employees are out of work, unable to pay rent, going to food banks. there is serious pain. so I think that may be the genesis of some of the responses you have been getting.

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Re: Increased corkage post-COVID?

#65 Post by Andrew K. » August 4th, 2020, 9:43 pm

john stimson wrote:
August 4th, 2020, 9:38 pm
Georgia, if I'm remembering correctly, didn't really shut down much with COVid. But realize in other parts of the country and the world, the situation is radically different.
Very fair. Indeed we hardly shutdown and reopened very quickly. Today it's business as usual almost everywhere. Sad to hear about so much carnage with businesses elsewhere when it seems rather unnecessary.
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Re: Increased corkage post-COVID?

#66 Post by Andrew K. » August 4th, 2020, 9:51 pm

Craig G wrote:
August 4th, 2020, 9:31 pm
Let’s just say we might expect a “frequent DRC buyer” to be a little more considerate when restaurants are in existential danger. But feel free to keep digging.
So glad the Underprivileged Middle Class have you and Greg to be their Arbitor of Equity and Justice. [worship.gif] I guess we all should drive through suburbia with buckets of cash in the back of the truck flying about in the wind to make ourselves feel better. I have plenty of friends in the restaurant business and I deeply understand the precarious nature of the entire industry. Doesn't mean I have to be happy about what I perceive to be a double dipping money grab.
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Re: Increased corkage post-COVID?

#67 Post by john stimson » August 4th, 2020, 9:55 pm

Andrew K. wrote:
August 4th, 2020, 9:43 pm
john stimson wrote:
August 4th, 2020, 9:38 pm
Georgia, if I'm remembering correctly, didn't really shut down much with COVid. But realize in other parts of the country and the world, the situation is radically different.
Very fair. Indeed we hardly shutdown and reopened very quickly. Today it's business as usual almost everywhere. Sad to hear about so much carnage with businesses elsewhere when it seems rather unnecessary.
Sorry--I'm losing confidence here. Very unfortunately for a lot of businesses, the shutdowns are actually extremely necessary. Many, many lives are at stake. Trust me--I'm a doctor.

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Re: Increased corkage post-COVID?

#68 Post by c fu » August 4th, 2020, 10:00 pm

Andrew K. wrote:
August 4th, 2020, 9:51 pm
Craig G wrote:
August 4th, 2020, 9:31 pm
Let’s just say we might expect a “frequent DRC buyer” to be a little more considerate when restaurants are in existential danger. But feel free to keep digging.
So glad the Underprivileged Middle Class have you and Greg to be their Arbitor of Equity and Justice. [worship.gif] I guess we all should drive through suburbia with buckets of cash in the back of the truck flying about in the wind to make ourselves feel better. I have plenty of friends in the restaurant business and I deeply understand the precarious nature of the entire industry. Doesn't mean I have to be happy about what I perceive to be a double dipping money grab.
can you explain why you believe raising corkage fees is a double dipping money grab?

Do you believe corkage fees in general are money grabs?
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Re: Increased corkage post-COVID?

#69 Post by Matt Mauldin » August 4th, 2020, 10:17 pm

Andrew K. wrote:
August 4th, 2020, 9:28 pm
Matt Mauldin wrote:
August 4th, 2020, 8:48 pm
Andrew, some of the reactions were a little strong, but there's a contingent here of people ITB or who are otherwise sympathetic to restaurants. Combine that with people's generally more heightened sensitivity with things related to to Covid, and it's easy for things to go sideways over a provocative comment.
Yeah that's fair man. I'm sad that a simple phrase tacked at the end of a post can set so many people on tilt, but I certainly understand the sentiment in the industry. This wasn't to be part of my thread but I actually contacted the somm because I wanted to know what would be best for them - if he'd rather I BYO with corkage or they were trying to encourage in house purchases with specials. I was definitely a bit turned off in what I perceived to be double dipping IMO, but I always planned on supporting them with a tasting or bottle purchase.
I hear what you're saying. Looking again at your original post, so many establishments having absorbed the impacts of the current business environment, you should probably just expect to see numerous and sometimes conflicting strategies when it comes to wine service. I'm sure both sides of the fence (discounting vs no discounting & raising corkage) have good reasons unique to their situations. I wouldn't consider it double dipping with the contact you made, just a business decision that they feel works best for them.

Where to dine and having a special wine for your anniversary is personal decision. I'm sure you have plenty of nice options being in the Atlanta area (my hometown). If you can find a spot where you can comfortably have corkage, I'd just recommend some extra consideration for the restaurant somewhere else in the meal. And I'd recommend to anyone dining out these days to show some extra kindness and consideration overall. Restaurants are trying to figure a lot of things out on the fly.

I hope you enjoy your anniversary dinner and that whatever wine you drink is a great bottle. Cheers.
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Re: Increased corkage post-COVID?

#70 Post by Andrew K. » August 5th, 2020, 12:52 am

c fu wrote:
August 4th, 2020, 10:00 pm
can you explain why you believe raising corkage fees is a double dipping money grab?

Do you believe corkage fees in general are money grabs?
Hey Charlie. The way I approach business is it's a two way street and it's a balance between providing a good service at a fair price. In this case their wine list is already priced pretty bleeding edge at 3x retail, so raising corkage and reducing BYO bottle limits to push you into their relatively overpriced list just feels a bit gougey to me. But this may be the new normal and the only way for establishments like this to survive.
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Re: Increased corkage post-COVID?

#71 Post by GregT » August 5th, 2020, 1:59 am

I think there's a misunderstanding of corkage here.

Restaurants don't necessarily love it when a stranger shows up with his own bottle. But what restaurants do love is repeat diners, regulars as it were. So they offer corkage to be known as the wine-friendly place, hoping that the people who come in with their wine will become regular patrons. Because restaurants want to fill tables.

In every place where I've gone with wine more than once, I've become friendly with the owners and have gone back and brought friends many times. It ends up not being a one-off for the restaurant, but it becomes a chance to get a loyal customer who sends additional diners to the place. I've become fairly close to a number of owners. At times I've been asked where my wine was, but my feeling is that if I like the restaurant and they have a nice wine list, I don't want to be presumptuous. If I have a special group of friends, we'll bring some wine, but if I'm just out for dinner, I'm happy to order from the list.

Increasing the corkage fee at this point is petty. The restaurant gets an additional ten or twenty dollars. In the long run, that's peanuts and maybe the restaurant loses a customer. I guess it really depends on whether the restaurant thinks it will survive.

If I were a restaurant owner and if I were able to open, I'd probably be happy to have customers and I wouldn't increase my corkage fees at this point. We don't know whether people will feel safe enough to crowd restaurants for the next year or two, so any customer is a blessing. Then again, as a customer, I probably wouldn't do a BYO at this point either.
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Re: Increased corkage post-COVID?

#72 Post by Rauno E (NZ) » August 5th, 2020, 2:36 am

Andrew, your initial post didn’t come across as you seeing it as a two way street. It came across as a one way street: you wanting and expecting a discount because restaurants should feel lucky to have a customer at this time. Perhaps not what you meant, but it helps explain some of the responses. It appears even with corkage and 3x mark ups places are barely scraping by, staff are no doubt struggling with precarious hours and low pay. That doesn’t seem like gouging to me. If you like the place enough, you’re probably happy to pay. If not, you will probably go somewhere else.
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Re: Increased corkage post-COVID?

#73 Post by Robert Dentice » August 5th, 2020, 2:38 am

Andrew K. wrote:
August 4th, 2020, 8:31 pm
Matt Mauldin wrote:
August 4th, 2020, 8:24 pm
In fairness, I think the use of "money grab" in the OP set the tone of the thread.
Is a community dedicated to fine wine really so ridiculously sensitive to money? I would conjure every single person here is in the 1% of the world. Maybe we're all just so ashamed of our privilege, we feel the need to shame and demean others? Does that make us feel better about our success?
I do not feel this need. Just the opposite I feel the need to stand up for those struggling. And the reason why I reacted so negatively is that I have so many friends in the restaurant business who are losing their restaurants every day or if they are not owners their livelihoods during this pandemic. Corkage is a hot button for me. I hate as much as anyone here paying 4x retail for wine and generally do not go to corporate places that charge those prices. Most of the higher-end restaurants I prefer are smaller and chef owned so I gladly pay whatever corkage they charge, buy at least one bottle and take very good care of the staff and send them many customers.

I can't say this enough most restaurants unless they are fast food simply do not make money on food alone.

This pandemic is terrible for so many businesses. However restaurants were on the edge before this, so this is just pushing them over the edge.

They are huge part of the culture of our society. We need to support them, especially as you say we are in the 1%
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Re: Increased corkage post-COVID?

#74 Post by Steve Crawford » August 5th, 2020, 2:43 am

D@vid Bu3ker wrote:
August 4th, 2020, 4:10 pm
Steve Crawford wrote:
August 4th, 2020, 4:05 pm
Restaurants really aren’t in a position of strength right now so charging more and providing less seems pretty dumb.
What’s your story going to be when they are all gone?

Selfish, entitled (removed by admin)
Do you think that’s foreseeable? Granted I generally only dined our 1x a month Pre COVID.
Having had worked as a waiter for a decade, at michelin starred places and james beard winners, I can count the number of times on 1 hand when a corkage wasn’t 100% my decision to charge and I did it how many people do many things, I profiled.
I’ve never not brought wine in and not offered to waiter. I usually ask if corkage is waived if another bottle is purchased.

Restaurants are shitty businesses models and I wish they actually paid their FoH staff. I hated the concept of tipping as a waiter and I hate it now. It’s demeaning to everyone but ownership. I hope restaurants survive on a broad sense but the ones offering mediocre service and trying to make back profits via corkage fees- well good luck.

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Re: Increased corkage post-COVID?

#75 Post by Leonard Maran » August 5th, 2020, 3:07 am

We have a bistro in Cole Valley, in San Francisco. They have had corkage free Tuesdays every week for years. Right now restaurants can only be open outside. I recently reached out to them and they said they are maintaining it now, and will do so when they open fully.

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Re: Increased corkage post-COVID?

#76 Post by Mich@el Ch@ng » August 5th, 2020, 4:33 am

At the current time, there is essentially no incentive that would entice us to go out to eat in the current environment, except perhaps carefully socially distanced outdoor dining. This is ultimately the existential threat to restaurants, that people who would normally spend significant amounts of disposable income don't feel comfortable eating out. In this environment, customers may also be more price sensitive, and raising prices for corkage is likely not a good strategy. Even if we would consider going somewhere, if we weren't allowed to bring wine at a reasonable price we'd rather simply eat at home.

On the other hand, restaurants may not be able to survive without significant alcohol sales. It's probably a no-win scenario for them. I think probably incentivizing people to dine out is probably their best strategy, but if they feel like they can't be profitable without people buying overpriced bottles, then I'm not really sure what the way forward is.

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Re: Increased corkage post-COVID?

#77 Post by Markus S » August 5th, 2020, 5:39 am

Nick Christie wrote:
August 4th, 2020, 5:13 pm
...Andrew, or anybody who asks a reasonable question, ...
You have to consider the source:
Calling something "a money grab" when he has boasted about buying DRC...
citing "post-COVID" when the virus is full bore first wave...

There is a reason people pile on.
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Re: Increased corkage post-COVID?

#78 Post by Markus S » August 5th, 2020, 5:45 am

Arv R wrote:
August 4th, 2020, 9:13 pm
Not really fair to attack OP for comments that are not in this thread, or over their avatar either.
But the avatar makes a statement, doesn't it? You notice no one attacks people with dogs in their avatars?! [cheers.gif]
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Re: Increased corkage post-COVID?

#79 Post by Ramon C » August 5th, 2020, 5:49 am

Markus S wrote:
August 5th, 2020, 5:39 am
Nick Christie wrote:
August 4th, 2020, 5:13 pm
...Andrew, or anybody who asks a reasonable question, ...
You have to consider the source:
Calling something "a money grab" when he has boasted about buying DRC...
citing "post-COVID" when the virus is full bore first wave...

There is a reason people pile on.
This.

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Re: Increased corkage post-COVID?

#80 Post by Andrew M » August 5th, 2020, 6:00 am

.
Last edited by Andrew M on August 10th, 2020, 9:59 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Increased corkage post-COVID?

#81 Post by Sean S y d n e y » August 5th, 2020, 6:03 am

As a server, I do not think it is incumbent upon restaurants to indulge in a race to the bottom so that people can take advantage of our collective desperation, and that's I'll say, doing my best to avoid pointing fingers or name-calling.
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Re: Increased corkage post-COVID?

#82 Post by YLee » August 5th, 2020, 6:09 am

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Re: Increased corkage post-COVID?

#83 Post by Bob Hughes » August 5th, 2020, 6:15 am

Robert, thanks for that link to the article on Prune - literally brought tears to my eyes. This has been devastating to folks working in the restaurant business.

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Re: Increased corkage post-COVID?

#84 Post by Michael S. Monie » August 5th, 2020, 6:17 am

Barry L i p t o n wrote:
August 4th, 2020, 4:19 pm
Michael S. Monie wrote:
August 4th, 2020, 4:08 pm
Bringing wine into a restaurant is a privilege, not a right.
As is expecting my patronage.

No different from pre-Covid, they set their policy and I make my decision. For me it's as much the attitude as the cost (within reason, but I don't find $35/50 unreasonable for a formal restaurant) . It does factor into my decision but that usually refers to how many times I go, not whether I go at all.
No disagreement with this here. And I would think the majority of restaurants are not concerned as their business models are not built around customers who prioritize bringing in wine. In all but the high end places, there are probably 20 iced tea drinkers for every one drinking wine.
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Re: Increased corkage post-COVID?

#85 Post by Greg K » August 5th, 2020, 6:18 am

Andrew M wrote:
August 5th, 2020, 6:00 am
Anyone who thinks he’s implying that COVID is over, done with, yesterday’s news because he used the term “post-COVID” really needs to get a grip. From now on we will all say “in a new era when COVID is a scary and unfortunate reality” instead just to not offend you. How about asking what he meant before assuming your knee-jerk interpretation is the only possible meaning and summarily declaring OP to be a jerk? The amount of pontificating, holier-than-though, moral superiority bullshit on this board lately is out of control.
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Andrew K. wrote:
August 4th, 2020, 9:43 pm
john stimson wrote:
August 4th, 2020, 9:38 pm
Georgia, if I'm remembering correctly, didn't really shut down much with COVid. But realize in other parts of the country and the world, the situation is radically different.
Very fair. Indeed we hardly shutdown and reopened very quickly. Today it's business as usual almost everywhere. Sad to hear about so much carnage with businesses elsewhere when it seems rather unnecessary.
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Re: Increased corkage post-COVID?

#86 Post by Gus Siokis » August 5th, 2020, 6:20 am

Andrew K. wrote:
August 4th, 2020, 1:59 pm
So I'm planning dinner at a local top restaurant for our anniversary. I've heard about a lot of restaurants reducing or eliminating their corkage to try to encourage people to dine with them and/or offering specials or reduced prices on their wine list.

So I ask the somm what they are doing and he said not only do they have no specials/discounts, they have increased their corkage to $35/50 (2 bottles max) to "encourage guests to enjoy their wines".

Curious if anyone else has seen this type of money grab?
Andrew: What restaurant is this in Atlanta? I am over in Marietta is why I ask and most places we visit are usually ITP.
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Re: Increased corkage post-COVID?

#87 Post by claudioduran » August 5th, 2020, 6:50 am

Houston TX hard to find a premium restaurant with corkage fee...

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Re: Increased corkage post-COVID?

#88 Post by Andrew K. » August 5th, 2020, 7:30 am

Gus Siokis wrote:
August 5th, 2020, 6:20 am
Andrew: What restaurant is this in Atlanta? I am over in Marietta is why I ask and most places we visit are usually ITP.
Would rather not say because I'm not trying to make it about one restaurant, just more about the practice and what others are seeing.
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Re: Increased corkage post-COVID?

#89 Post by Gus Siokis » August 5th, 2020, 7:36 am

ok...just wanted to see if it is one of the restaurants we frequent is all. By the way, I wouldn't care if they increased the price especially in light of our current situation with COVID.
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Re: Increased corkage post-COVID?

#90 Post by Robert.A.Jr. » August 5th, 2020, 7:43 am

H Wallace Jr wrote:
August 4th, 2020, 3:17 pm
I can't imagine bringing wine into a restaurant right now.
Some really interesting points and observations. Looking beyond some of the vitriol and castigation here, I have definitely learned something. Good thread, all things considered.

I also think absolutes cannot apply here. Every locale and restaurant is different. My two fave restaurants in my town, even at the so-called 50% capacity rule passed locally, remain busy every day lunch and dinner. Their prime investor is also a billionaire (many of you would know who it is, he ain't hurtin). I would not blink an eye about BYOB there- did it a few weeks ago. Now that said, I have made a point of way over-tipping just about everywhere that I go during this Covid crisis. And tip on the fair assessment of the bottle cost as well. The house gets my business plus my corkage fee, the server gets their regular customers that pay well and tip well. Much better than no customer at all. A small, boutique restaurant, yea I prolly won't do BYOB. To the OP, I cannot say that I really ever pay attention to the corkage fee, it's close to irrelevant since it's a privilege that I can bring in a fine, matured wine that I want to drink at their place. I'm not even sure I know what any of my favorite places charge. That $10 difference is meaningless in the context of what we are drinking.
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Re: Increased corkage post-COVID?

#91 Post by Robert Dentice » August 5th, 2020, 7:52 am

Bob Hughes wrote:
August 5th, 2020, 6:15 am
Robert, thanks for that link to the article on Prune - literally brought tears to my eyes. This has been devastating to folks working in the restaurant business.
Me too!

I think what that article shows is how close to the brink most restaurants were pre-COVID. Prune was always 100% occupied, I assume it had reasonable rent, had a star chef and yet you can glean from the article they were barely making it Pre-COVID.

On $2.5-3mm of revenue - "It just barely banks about exactly what it needs each week to cover its expenses."

Keep in mind this is an incredibly small restaurant and there are not many restaurants that can turn that type of revenue in such a small space.

I encourage others to read the article:

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/23/maga ... covid.html
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Re: Increased corkage post-COVID?

#92 Post by Andrew K. » August 5th, 2020, 7:59 am

Markus S wrote:
August 5th, 2020, 5:39 am
You have to consider the source:
Calling something "a money grab" when he has boasted about buying DRC...
citing "post-COVID" when the virus is full bore first wave...

There is a reason people pile on.
Hi Marcus. I can't say I remember boasting about anything, although I have started a thread about DRC. If you are talking about posting my purchases in the purchase thread then I guess everyone here is boasting.

People are awfully sensitive here about semantics. Post-COVID is the opposite of pre-COVID i.e. after the outbreak started and became a part of our world. I thought we had all recognized this virus has come to stay and it will be a very long time and possibly never that it's "over". But perhaps not. Certainly I could understand if your career and livelihood is tied to the services industry, it's human nature to hold out hope as long as possible that something would arrive and things would return to normal. So it's probably not a popular opinion that the restaurant apocalypse is what the post-COVID world looks like.

As far as why people pile on, I can't really comment. That's a topic better suited to a well qualified behavioral scientist.
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Re: Increased corkage post-COVID?

#93 Post by Andrew M » August 5th, 2020, 8:00 am

.
Last edited by Andrew M on August 10th, 2020, 10:00 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Increased corkage post-COVID?

#94 Post by Andrew K. » August 5th, 2020, 8:01 am

Robert.A.Jr. wrote:
August 5th, 2020, 7:43 am
I also think absolutes cannot apply here. Every locale and restaurant is different. My two fave restaurants in my town, even at the so-called 50% capacity rule passed locally, remain busy every day lunch and dinner. Their prime investor is also a billionaire (many of you would know who it is, he ain't hurtin). I would not blink an eye about BYOB there- did it a few weeks ago. Now that said, I have made a point of way over-tipping just about everywhere that I go during this Covid crisis. And tip on the fair assessment of the bottle cost as well. The house gets my business plus my corkage fee, the server gets their regular customers that pay well and tip well. Much better than no customer at all. A small, boutique restaurant, yea I prolly won't do BYOB. To the OP, I cannot say that I really ever pay attention to the corkage fee, it's close to irrelevant since it's a privilege that I can bring in a fine, matured wine that I want to drink at their place. I'm not even sure I know what any of my favorite places charge. That $10 difference is meaningless in the context of what we are drinking.
Great points for sure. Thanks for the reply.
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Re: Increased corkage post-COVID?

#95 Post by Michael S. Monie » August 5th, 2020, 8:01 am

I've always considered a high corkage ($35 and higher in the south) an indication that a restaurant does not welcome outside wine, but is willing to tolerate it if you are willing to pay that amount. It also keeps people from bringing in KJ and Yellowtail .
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Re: Increased corkage post-COVID?

#96 Post by Mich@el Ch@ng » August 5th, 2020, 8:09 am

I guess I feel like I’m relatively insensitive to the price of corkage if it’s not exorbitant. $35-50 isn’t bad if the caliber of the restaurant is good, but I frequented good restaurants with low corkage regularly (like the now defunct upstairs 2 in west LA, and hillstone when they had free corkage).

Places like TFL set super high corkage because they don’t want ppl to bring wine, but I probably still would despite the high price point because I don’t want to pay 4x retail for champagne or burgundy.

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Re: Increased corkage post-COVID?

#97 Post by KenL. » August 5th, 2020, 8:32 am

Now is the time to support restaurants, not look for freebies. They are hanging on by a thread, so don’t ask them to do anything special. If you want to bring wine into a restaurant it’s a good idea to drink one off their list for everyone you bring.
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Re: Increased corkage post-COVID?

#98 Post by Robert Dentice » August 5th, 2020, 8:34 am

Mich@el Ch@ng wrote:
August 5th, 2020, 8:09 am
I guess I feel like I’m relatively insensitive to the price of corkage if it’s not exorbitant. $35-50 isn’t bad if the caliber of the restaurant is good, but I frequented good restaurants with low corkage regularly (like the now defunct upstairs 2 in west LA, and hillstone when they had free corkage).

Places like TFL set super high corkage because they don’t want ppl to bring wine, but I probably still would despite the high price point because I don’t want to pay 4x retail for champagne or burgundy.
Wasn't Upstairs 2 attached to a large wine store?
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Re: Increased corkage post-COVID?

#99 Post by Victor Hong » August 5th, 2020, 8:40 am

This thread should be re-named, as "First-World Problems".
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Re: Increased corkage post-COVID?

#100 Post by Peter Hirsch » August 5th, 2020, 8:41 am

A little bit of a thread drift, though the above is interesting.

I've long thought that about the greatest value in high end luxury experiences is food in great restaurants. It's too cheap, relative to other high end luxury experiences. For the food portion, for one person, a great restaurant can't really charge much more than $200 per person all in, and one of the ridiculous omakase experiences or the equivalent ludicrous tasting menu is maybe $300 or at most $400. And that's counting white truffle season, Japanese A5, etc, etc. And the artistry necessary to pull off the most creative dishes is something I can only wonder at (I was once at Le Bulli before it closed). The restaurant business is fluky, they close all the time. The initial outlay is really high, you have to 'build it' and then see if they come. So much capital, so much risk, and all to charge not that much (relative to other luxury goods) and earn what I'd call a meager return (and a horrible risk adjusted return).

So here we are. We've now seen what Covid or an equivalent can do to a restaurant. When we get to 2021, will the economics shift? I'd have to believe as a businessperson that with the risk of a restaurant disaster more apparent, an equivalent risk adjusted return means that something has to give. Lower rent? Less amenities? Cheaper labor? Or higher prices? Anyone investing in a restaurant, going forward, will have to factor in something like Covid into their calculations and that should remove some of the easier capital from this industry?

My guess is somewhat less competition, somewhat lower rent (as fewer restaurants survive so less competition for a particular location) and higher overall prices for the consumer. I'll still be a consumer of the high end product as even at 10 or 20% higher prices I think it's still good value relatively speaking. I'm guessing we'll look back at 2017-2019 as the hey day for consumers of high end restaurant meals in major metropolitan centers, where the value was incredibly good.

Any thoughts?

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