If a restaurant has a special or rare wine, then I sit up and take notice. Tipping aside, I think it is normal for an older wine to be more expensive, and I actually don’t mind the mark-up (OK, mind it less
if there is the notion of discovery, of the person buying for the restaurant being adventurous.
Sadly, this is all too rare. And wine service is frequently bungled, even in France.
The issue here is added value. And there is precious little for fine wine in most restaurants (not all, of course!). That is the crux of this discussion, and nothing I’ve read so far really justifies the *degree* with which wine is marked up in restaurants.
And I just love the restaurants that let me bring my own!
I don’t feel like so much of a victim...
You say that you have never heard guests complain about the price of your wine. But is it really in the nature of English or American people to do so?
Have you ever thought about asking your customers? Maybe what they think is quite different from your impression. No feedback does not mean they approve... That reminds me of Richard Nixon’s “silent majority”.
Are you fleecing your customers? Basic economics says that if they agree to pay (and some of them may even come back again) that the right market level has been found. However, that line of reasoning only goes so far. If your profit margins were less greedy, would you sell more? Would you attract more wine lovers and have more repeat clients? Would the restaurant be more, rather than less prosperous?
You are right, I have indeed seen outrageous mark-ups on wine in several countries (including, yes, literally three times the retail price) and been burnt more than a few times. Since you said that it was insulting to assume that you were robbing your customers blind, would you please be so kind as to send me a link, either publicly or privately, with your restaurant’s wine list?
I most certainly do treat waiters politely. That has nothing to do with my impression that many people are in the restaurant business as a stop-gap measure and aren’t professional. Even so, they will be treated politely for sure. But they will be asked to improve service if this is called for, in the nicest possible way.
You keep telling me to accept the rules of the game or go somewhere else. That will be for me to decide, actually. I do go out fairly often, but find that the worst abuses are generally in the higher-priced establishments. The outrageous wine mark-ups usually force me to buy something very affordable to drink, whereas I love wine and have many expensive bottles in my cellar. I just don’t like to be taken for a sucker.