When dining out, you can always expect to pay more for the food than you would if you made it at home. The steak you’re an expert at grilling will be priced higher on menus. The same goes for the pasta, fish, and salad — and the same is true for wine. This is because restaurants aren’t just charging you for the base cost of the food or wine, but adding in the cost of staff salaries, rent, tables, chairs, napkins, glassware, etc. And on top of this, they clean up so you don’t have to. And while many restaurants simply break even, the goal is to hopefully make a profit, which again gets factored into the prices of menu items.
Traditionally, you can expect to pay about three times the wholesale price of a bottle of wine when you’re out to dinner, or 2.5 times what you’d pay for the bottle at retail. However, this has been changing recently, as has been discussed at length on the “VinePair Podcast,” with many restaurants charging much more. A lot of this has to do with Covid and restaurants trying to make up for the massive losses experienced during the pandemic. But a lot of it is also simply because some restaurants think they can, which is an alarming trend.
Wine should definitely cost more at restaurants than at bottle shops to account for all of the factors I mentioned above, but it should be a justifiable price increase, not a gouge.
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