Restaurants, challenged to find a new way to lure customers, are promoting bring-your-own-wine programs. Yesterday, one Sugar girl told me about her father who loves to bring his own bottles of wine when dining out. I bring wine to casual restaurants that aren't known for choice varietals, but when I eat at an outstanding restaurant, I like to have the sommelier surprise me. What about you?
Restaurants have turned to retail, offered cheaper steaks, and charged patrons extra for bread — all in an attempt to improve discouraging sales numbers. But that isn't enough, so restaurateurs are taking it to the next level and promoting "bring your own" wine programs.
Nation's Restaurant News reports that in a recent DiningInfo survey of 50,000 restaurateurs, 15,000 now have a program that allows diners to bring their own bottles of wine, and that number is growing. This policy requires a special 'bottle club license' in certain states, and also means lower profit margins. However, operators — even the likes of high-end restaurateurs like Danny Meyer — agree that, at least for the moment, turnout makes up for lower alcohol sales. I've certainly noticed an upward trend in reduced corkage fees around town.
Do you find yourself more drawn to a restaurant that has a BYO policy? Do you think reducing or eliminating corkage fees could help restaurants solve their problem of sluggish sales?