The Win-Win of Allowing BYOB
I’m a big supporter of area restaurants embracing the concept of BYOB, or Bring Your Own Bottle (see our feature on page 44). It’s not that I have any vested interest.
As someone who never really liked the taste of alcohol, I’m not much of a drinker. But I know a good win-win arrangement when I see one, and BYOB seems like such a smart thing to offer on a variety of levels.
Obviously, many people like to be able to partake of the alcoholic beverage of their choice when eating a meal. And often that translates to wine or beer. However, not all restaurant owners can afford or are able to get a license to serve liquor. So they miss out on being able to attract prospective customers for whom having a drink with their meal is a priority. And customers may miss out on a great dining option, just because the restaurant can’t serve alcohol.
By contrast, in communities where BYOB is allowed, restaurateurs have the flexibility to accommodate their customers by letting them bring their preferred alcoholic beverage with them to the restaurant to drink with their meal. Both restaurateurs and customers benefit.
For restaurants that do have liquor licenses, it might seem allowing BYOB would deprive the restaurant of an important revenue stream. But one of the good things about offering BYOB is that, for the most part, restaurants can dictate the terms. Most limit it to BYOW (wine) and charge a corkage fee, usually in the $20 to $25 range, which helps them recoup possible lost dollars that may have otherwise been spent on the restaurant’s own wines. But restaurateurs can wave the corkage fee if and when they want, as several do on certain days of the week — usually weekday evenings as a way to attract additional diners. Either way, customers win by being able to enjoy their own favorite wines while dining out, either at no cost or for a nominal fee. And restaurants benefit by having another tool at their disposal for attracting new diners.
Better yet, several local restaurateurs have commented that their BYOB customers tend to be among their most loyal and that the BYOB culture facilitates a more laid-back, friendly atmosphere. So again, it seems like a win-win proposition, and all that is really required is a little accommodation — an attribute our world could use a little more of these days.
We hope you’ll also check out the many other interesting editorial features in this issue including “Getting Fit While Having Fun” on page 38, and our Q&A interview on page 12 with Charley Bejna of Addison, a seven-time participant in the Alaskan Iditarod sled dog race.