Sunday, August 19, 2007

Wine Markups at Restaurants

Have you ever wondered what the markup is on the wine you buy at your local restaurant? Because my most disappointing Buffalo dining experience occurred at the Empire Grill on Hertel Avenue, I have chosen them as the focus of my post on wine markups in the restaurant business.

Below you will find the price Empire Grill charges per glass of wine. Under this price you will find how much it would cost you to purchase an entire bottle of each wine. A standard 750ml bottle holds 25.368 fluid ounces of wine. Restaurants usually serve 4 to 6 ounces of wine per glass. So, you can take one bottle to hold roughly 4-5 glasses of wine.

Woodbridge White Zinfandel
Empire Grill price: $5 per glass
Premier Wine price: $9 for a jumbo 1.5L bottle

Jekel Riesling
Empire Grill price: $7 per glass price: $10 per bottle

Francis Coppola Bianco Pinot Grigio
Empire Grill price: $6 per glass
Premier Wine price: $9 per bottle

Barefoot Sauvignon Blanc
Empire Grill price: $5 per glass
Premier Wine price: $7 per bottle (regular price); $4 per bottle (sale price)

Sebastiani Chardonnay
Empire Grill price: $8 per glass
Premier Wine price: $13 per bottle

Beringer "Founder's Estate" Pinot Noir
Empire Grill price: $7 per glass
Premier Wine price: $13 per bottle

L de Lyeth Merlot
Empire Grill price: $7 per glass
Premier Wine price: $9 per bottle

Francis Coppola Rosso
Empire Grill price: $6 per glass
Premire Wine price: $10 per bottle (when it's not on sale)

Gallo Family Vineyards "Reserve" Cabernet Sauvignon
Empire Grill price: $8 per glass
Common internet price: $10-12 per bottle

One interesting feature of the Empire Grill's wine prices (and those of other restaurants as well) is that the lower the quality of wine you buy, the higher the markup percentage is. You can see why I much prefer to drink wine in the comfort of my own home. I get a great deal more wine for my money.

Readers from Buffalo may wonder what was wrong with my dining experience at the Empire Grill. Like many others, I waited with anticipation for what Buffalo Spree called an "architecturally gorgeous restaurant" to open on one of North Buffalo's best strips of restaurants and bars. When my wife and I sat down to eat there for the first (and last) time, we couldn't find a single dish we were interested in ordering. Almost every one of the appetizers was deep-friend, and the rest of the menu looked straight out of Chili's or Applebee's. My wife and I ordered a single bowl of soup and left without eating dinner there.


Jim said...

I wish I could disagree. My first dinning experience at Empire Grill was shortly after they opened. After my experience tonight I will never go back.
Having received a gift certificate from my parents as part of a Christmas gift, my wife and I thought an early supper at Empire would hit the spot tonight... unfortunately their standards for both Food and Service seem to have fallen significantly since our last visit.
After perusing the menu, I selected the 9 oz. Filet Mignon with a side of grilled asparagus and potato tort sides. Typically I enjoy my steak extremely rare, so after explaining my tastes to the server I eagerly awaited my entrée.

What arrived from the kitchen can only be described as unrecognizable. The cut of beef had been butterflied (I thought that technique was used when attempting to quickly fill and order for well done) and then reassembled to look like a filet. Honestly, when I first examined the plate I truly though they had simply run out of the cut of meat and substituted something else. At this point, I was less than pleased, but things happen. The server's defensive response of feeling "kind of offended" that I would question the meal set my nerves on edge. This was followed by a less than satisfactory visit from the manager. The manager offered the same excuses the server did, and frankly never even tried to salvage a rapidly deteriorating situation. It's been years since I worked in the industry, but have these folks never learned the tactics of customer service? How about a bit of empathy, or an olive branch ("can I buy you a drink?" goes a long way)? My replacement meal came from the kitchen cold.

The icing on the cake was that I was charged for the second meal.

Needless to say, my wife and I will never return.

James Beebe said...

Thanks for sharing your experience. The service I received there wasn't very good either. At least the Hertel Ave area seems to be doing well overall.