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Wine price mark up in restaurants spoil the meal

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Having just come back from New Zealand where wine in restaurants is commonly priced at 50% above the retail price (up to 100% in smarter establishments), I realise that we are being ripped off in Britain.  The mark-up on wine in restaurants used to be about 3 times or 200% but is increasingly four and five times.  Remember that I am comparing against retail prices whereas the restaurant buys at wholesale prices.

Restaurants cleverly buy from "trade" lists so that the names or brands are different from the high street names, making comparisons more difficult.  However a little research gleaned from your local supermarket wine shelves will put you in a position to judge when you are being ripped off.  A generic Bordeaux Claret, usually under a Chateaux name you've not heard of, should not cost more that £5.00 retail so if, as is common, it is offered to you at more than £15 you've been "had".

Expensive wine in restaurants South African Chenin Blanc is a good, reliable, cheap white wine retailing for about £4 so I suggest you don't buy if it is more than £12 in your local eatery.  I could give many more examples but not unless this "Gripe" generates enough interest.

How will the restaurants cope on reduced profit margins?  Simple, they will sell more when the wine price mark-up is seen to be reasonable.  If I go into an eating establishment where the cheapest wine on the wine list is £20 (quite common now) I ask the wine waiter for a jug of tap water!  If enough people did the same what an effect we would have!

My suggestions are first not to buy wine which is more than three times the retail price but more importantly, perhaps to start a campaign of naming those establishments with huge wine mark ups that spoil the experience of dining out.

By: Chris


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Never Eat Out Again

Never Eat Out Again

The trouble with the restaurant industry in Britain are the vast numbers of ethnic restaurants run by amateurs. These are often poor quality, and poor value for money. The curiosity value simply means yet another plateful of mush.

The other problem is the fact that there are many people who need to eat out because they work and do not have time to cook for themselves, but most restaurants don't want this type of clientele. They only want to serve very expensive candle-lit dinners to romantic couples. BAH.

Gastro pubs give me gastro-enteritis. Pubs with huge amounts of false pretension.

Stay away form pubs which serve Thai food.
31/12/13 Never Eat Out Again
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Mark

Mark

Of course restaurants are rip-offs. They need to pay their rent and staff so fair enough they charge what they have to charge. My suggestion is to either go dining out and be prepared to take the hit or don't go out altogether.
17/05/13 Mark
3
pattietwell

pattietwell

@Steve: Go live in Australia then, problem solved.
11/08/11 pattietwell
0
LM

LM

I'm on a weekend break in Bournemouth - lovely place. Hotel is quite nice, however the restaurant is another matter. The food is good but the wine is so over priced. I decided to try the fixed price menu with suggested wine. It as a Truli Pino Grigio- priced at just over £21 per bottle.. I asked to see the wine list and the exact same wine was priced at £16.50 so I pointed out the wine and price I wanted. When the wine waiter showed me the bottle I was not paying attention and assumed it would be the Truli Pinot Grigio from the Wine List, it was not! I only realized after I'd had a couple of mouthfuls it was a cheaper Pino Grigio from a different region altogether, I asked to have a discount and was given £5 off the food bill. It spoilt the evening for me as I was chilling out from a stressful week. It makes me cross that restaurants think they can cheat customers. First of all the set menu showing recommended wines priced at over £21 which the exact same wine listed in their wine list is priced at £16.50 and to add injury - the wine was not even in stock, but substituted for a very cheap wine still charging either £21+ from set menu or £16.50 from wine list (list was not shown with set
menu!!) this is misleading and tricking the customer into paying so much more. Is there a law to protect the customer against this in the UK?
28/05/11 LM
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pretta

pretta

I think food is a major commodity for life, hence no one should joke about it.
20/10/10 pretta
3
Andrew

Andrew

Here in the USA we face the same problem. I'm planning a bachelor party and we were thinking about going out for steaks and cabernet. However, I realize I can have my buddies over and we can buy incredible bottles of wine for about 20 USD each if you know what you're looking for. Smart restaurants waive the corkage fee if you bring in enough business. Many restaurants here have half price bottles on Sundays or Mondays so that helps a bit.
12/08/10 Andrew
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foodie1982

foodie1982

restaurants are a business! think how much you pay for clothes or fuel or almost anything else against the original price. stay home if you cant afford it, leave the table free for someone willing to spend.
08/08/10 foodie1982
-9
Gainsborough lad.

Gainsborough lad.

For those of you that drink at home, just type in "cheapest beer" in your google bar and then click onto "my supermarket", then you can click onto asda, sainsburys, or tesco, save this on your favorites and check it daily, and get the best offers,

This is very usefull when you need to venture out to re-fill your fridge, look out for the "price per ml" on every picture, the best offer, is the asda one that comes around now and again with the 5% carlsberg 15 X 330ml for a fiver, works out at £1-00 per litre and tastes great,

Just hoping that this offer surfaces before xmas, and if it does, my larder will be rammed to the roof with it, sod the rip off restaurants and wine bars, burp.
28/11/09 Gainsborough lad.
-11
La La Luton Land

La La Luton Land

Why do we have to drink overpriced wine with our meal? Why not try overpriced beer or mineral water in an Indian restaurant? Just think of the impression you are giving your partner as they watch and see you pay £25 for a cheap bottle of plonk. You must be rich! Get you into bed ASAP. And gosh £4 on top for a bottle of Welsh rainwater. You must be stinking rich! And £5 for icecream? And £10 for a starter. And then 15% on top of everything as Service Charge. Oh La La La.
28/11/09 La La Luton Land
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Gian

Gian

A friend and I went on a trip to London and I asked for a bottle of wine ,the wine was worth under a fiver they charged me seventeen pounds ,if I had been with my husband I would most definately told her to keep it , We went on a two day deal with an overnight stay and we were served dinner in a seperate room to the rest of the hotel it was cold and quite frankly shoddy service and poor quality food.
28/11/09 Gian
1
Terry

Terry

Restaurants are too expensive. I'm fed up of all this capitalism! I wish they would charge reasonable prices.
30/07/09 Terry
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Andy

Andy

RobertELee - apologies for contradicting you but you can buy a lot of alcoholic products online for less than most of the major stores (including the delivery price). I've been doing this for at least the last six years. Back to the point about being ripped off..... cut a long story short....wedding reception...lovely time.......drinks....(yes you can guess what's coming can't you!)....invoice arrives from reception venue provider for said alcoholic consumption....line item "XYZ" Merlot @ £13.00/70cl bottle (inc VAT). Typed said brand name into Google and up popped at least ten sites offering the same, the cheapest of which was £4.49/bottle, plus delivery BUT based on a purchase of just one bottle, multiple bottles = cheaper price/bottle. If my calculation is correct the margin achieved by provider is 189.53% or thereabouts. Am I being ripped off? Sadly Dad was told to keep out of the wedding arrangements (particularly the reception bit) on fear of death, so I didn't have much choice in what I am about to pay. That of course is in stark contrast to when me and 'er indoors got hitched....but that's another story!
05/09/08 Andy
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Steve

Steve

Totally agree. I recently come back from Australia and the prices for top class wine is considerably less than here. Mind you it is brewed locally
28/07/08 Steve
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RobertELee

RobertELee

The price paid by the licensed trade for many alcoholic drinks to their wholesalers is virtually the same and often more than the retailers sell it to the general public, so it should not be assumed that our restuarants and pubs buy them for less that the retail price. There is acute concern in this country amongst the licensed trade that our supermarkets are selling drink at well below cost and considerably cheaper than our licensed outlets can purchase from their wholesalers. Because of supermarket competition, most off- licences are also forced to lower their retail prices to below what is considered economic for their survival, I do not know what the retail pricing policy of the licensed retail outlets in New Zealand is, but it is possible that retailers might not be selling as aggressively as they are in this country. That being the case,off-licences and other retailers of wine and other alcohol may be able to generate sensible margins. Restuarants and pubs' wholesale costs would thus be less than the retail prices, and the increased mark-up on wine etc in this country compared places might only be a perception and not a reality. The problem is that, notwithstanding the swingeing taxes levied on our drinks by the exchequer, the our high streets are pricing drink too cheaply, and this has contributed to binge drinking at home and to the demise of our licenced trade, but that is another gripe altogether!.
22/05/08 RobertELee
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Spuddy

Spuddy

That, or wake up to the fact that Rip-Off Britain is a reality. Rising costs in fuel, services, food, etc. are painfully evident - but maybe not so in Cloud Cuckoo Land, eh Mark?
19/05/08 Spuddy
-9

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