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Why is wine more expensive in Restaurants & Bars?

Have you ever wondered why wine is so much more expensive in restaurants and bars than in the supermarket, wine merchant, or off-license? Do you feel that the pricing is justified? This article will go on to discuss how the mark-ups are made and why you can find yourself paying up to four times the cost of the actual drink.

What is made up off? 

So, you can buy a bottle of wine in your local supermarket for £10-£15. For a decent wine this is a good average to go by, it not too cheap but sits in the middle. Off course you can get a £7 bottle of wine but it won’t be of a great quality.  

The part where it gets interesting is that you can find that same £15 bottle of wine being sold for anything between £30- £40. The reality is that restaurant or bar would have bought that bottle of wine for roughly £5 and it is marked up to cover the costs of the operation. The general mark up is anything between 2 and 5 times the cost. 

So, why is wine more expensive in Restaurants & Bars? This includes staff wages, glass breakages, equipment maintenance, rent, wine list printing, and in some cases, the restaurant or bar buying at the wrong time. When you consider all of these costs, you then realise why you are paying so much. Unfortunately, in the hospitality business, the biggest revenue generator isn’t food as you would think; it is the drinks. They are the moneymaker!

This week, we pondered over something interesting. Many boast about consuming pricey £80 or even £100+ wine bottles, but are they truly drinking wine of that value? A notable example is our experience with wine pricing at one of the restaurants at The Shard, where bottles priced at £84+ can be found online for just £20. It’s worth checking out

Pricing Tiers 

So, I don’t know about you but when we go out, we tend to go for a medium-priced wine as you don’t really want to do the house wine as it isn’t usually that great. This is where they make the money, this tends to be the wine they want you to go for as it is the most profitable. More expensive wines have less of a mark up on them because they are already quite expensive for them to purchase that they cannot justify putting that much more on it. So essentially you will get the best value for your money by buying the more expensive wines. Also, from a tax perspective, these offer more wine for your money than tax. Though of course £80 on a bottle of wine sounds like the more expensive side, so it’s just about being more discerning.

You will also find that Restaurants & Bars tend to put a box around the drinks they want to encourage you to buy, these tend to sit in the right-hand corner of the menu as this is where your eyes venture to first! You may also find that the more expensive drinks sit at the top, so that the rest of the menu is perceived to be cheaper!


It is very interesting when you go deeper, to see why wine is more expensive in Restaurants & bars.. It is fair enough though when you take all the different elements into consideration. They must cover their costs somehow! This is where the beauty of our business model comes in because we do not have many of those costs. Our costs are literally to cover glass breakages, corkage, travel to collect your wine and that’s it! So, if you would like a restaurant experience in your home without the high price tag, lets talk how we can help you have a great night without breaking the bank on drinks! 

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