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10 Budget Busters on Everyday Restaurant Menus


8
Wine
One way to skip the high charge for wines at restaurants is to find out if you can bring your own bottle.
One way to skip the high charge for wines at restaurants is to find out if you can bring your own bottle.
John Slater/Digital Vision/Getty Images

Relaxing with a glass of wine is a reason many patrons enjoy dining out, and restaurateurs enjoy you enjoying that. And why not? The markup on wine is usually around 300 percent, and it's not uncommon for it to be higher. A bottle that the restaurant buys wholesale for $10 (which would cost you around $15 in a store) will sell anywhere from $30 to $40.

How do restaurants justify that markup? Well, a food critic for the San Francisco Chronicle said that a markup of at least 2.5 times on wine was reasonable because of the costs involved in buying, stocking and serving the product. Also, the profit margin on wine by the glass is sometimes higher than by the bottle because the restaurant may be left with opened bottles that they have to use quickly or throw away.

For some, paying that high price to have a glass of wine is part of the package, but if you want to avoid this budget buster, see if you can bring your own wine. Many restaurants allow this and simply charge a corkage fee. The fee usually ranges anywhere from $10 to $20, but it's usually a better deal for your wallet, and it gives you the option of drinking a higher quality wine without breaking the bank.


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