Bring-your-own-wine promos bring in the customers
Hoping to attract guests at slow times, win the favor of wine aficionados, or both, some restaurant operators are running variations on the theme of bring-your-own-bottle complimentary corkage promotions.
Corkage, the fee restaurants add to the check for opening and serving a bottle of wine that a guest brings into the restaurant, is intended to cover not only the immediate service, but also some of the collateral costs of a wine program. That can include buying, washing and polishing stemware and cellaring wines in temperature-controlled conditions for years.
Many restaurants charge between $15 and $30 per bottle for corkage, but depending on the scale of the restaurant and the wine program, it can be much higher. Operators have long used corkage-free nights to create interest at slack business times and break up the routine for both customers and servers.