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Saul_cooperstein

Restaurant Prices

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Saul_cooperstein

Thought I’d twist this a little after the thread with the ‘expensive’ bourbon list. If you owned a restaurant and got a small allocation of somethings limited where would you price them? And with liquor licensing and the close watch of the distributors, it has to go out for sale on your drink menu in the restaurant...so no holding behind the bar for special customers...

 

ORVW?

Lot B?

PVW15?

Stagg?

WLW?

OFBB?

FR limited?

PHC?

ECBP?

etc...

 

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Harry in WashDC

There are a couple places around me that offer some of these.  I have no compunction of copying restaurant prices and posting them.  After all, they put them in big print (the better to see in the dark) on a stiff card.B)  IOW, are actual offering prices OK?

 

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dad-proof

So I went to a restaurant that overall had fair prices for an extensive selection, but their WLW was priced at $18-20. I ordered it, and the waiter came back with the manager a few minutes later to apologize that I had been given a older menu with a misprint and the price was actually $35 or so. Still a fair price, but I just picked something else. Anyway, to my point, I had an extended conversation with the manager, and he said pricing allocated whiskey is like pricing generators in the path of a hurricane. You stick to the same profit margin as your regular stock, and just a few people drain the supply and other interested parties never have a chance. So when it comes to PVW15, for example, the standard margins for a pour would be about $26-27 for a bottle that retails at $90. And in the "hurricane" market we are currently in, it would be cheaper for one person to buy the entire bottle at $27 a drink than buy elsewhere, and would leave many patrons disappointed they missed the opportunity to experience the  PVW15 on the menu.

 

So I am OK with a higher margin per drink at a restaurant for bottles that can't really be purchased at retail. I would probably say a 25-50% premium is fair, based on what the establishment may see getting drained faster than others. So, long-winded way to say that seeing it from all parties not wanting to feel or get cheated, my top end would be around:

 

ORVW ~ $30

Lot B ~ $35

PVW15 ~ $45-50 (Pappy premium)

Stagg ~ $40

WLW ~ $40

OFBB ~ $30

FR limited (depends on which release)

PHC (depends on which release)

ECBP $23

 

Restaurants really can't do lotteries the way stores can, although I've seen a few offer special flight nights to give more people a chance to try mini pours of 4-5 allocated items. 

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dad-proof

Sorry. Insomnia. Here are prices for a place near me, maybe some maybe a bit out of date, but I think more than fair. I still have never tried 95% of these (tell me if I am missing a must have!) as it's not really kid friendly, and the rare occasion my wife and I go it's not really what I'm looking to get after... I'm perfectly content with a pour ETL, ECBP, and RHF at their prices.

 

Woodford Reserve Batch Proof $25
Weller 12 Year $16
William Larue Weller BTAC 2017 $40
Wild Turkey 17 Year Masters Keep $31
Rock Hill Farms Single Barrel $11
Pappy Van Winkle 15 Year $55
Pappy Van Winkle 20 Year $75
Pappy Van Winkle 23 Year $100
Parker's Heritage collection 10th 24yr $51
Parker's Heritage Collection 11th $25
Old Rip Van Winkle 10 Year $25
Old Van Winkle 12 Year $35
Kentucky Owl 11 Year Rye $29
Jim Beam Distiller's Masterpiece $40
George Stagg BTAC 2017 $40
George Stagg, Stagg Jr. $12
Four Roses 50th Anniversary $36
Four Roses Barrel Strength Elliot 2016 $27
Four Roses Limited Edition Small Batch 2015 $27
Four Roses Limited Edition Small Batch 2016 $27
Four Roses Limited Edition Small Batch 2017 $27
Elijah Craig Bourbon 18 Year $25
Elijah Craig Bourbon 23 Year $54
Elijah Craig Bourbon Barrel Strength $10
Elmer T Lee Bourbon $8
Eagle Rare 17 Year Bourbon BTAC 2017 $40
Colonel E H Taylor  Straight Rye BIB $35
Colonel E H Taylor Four Grain $35

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musekatcher
Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, dad-proof said:

I had an extended conversation with the manager, and he said pricing allocated whiskey is like pricing generators in the path of a hurricane.

 

That's a good one.  He's apologizing because $480 per bottle isn't enough profit for him.  I finally decided, that same level of greed coexists with refilling, especially the more expensive brands like WLW, GTS, PVW, etc.  For many folks, Bourbon Deluxe may taste quite good! lol..

 

http://fortune.com/2017/11/03/worlds-most-expensive-dram-scotch-vintage-whisky-fake/

Edited by musekatcher

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dad-proof

We'll, margin on a bottle isn't the same thing as net profit to the restaurant, but I get your point. I also see his point. He didn't create the bourbon craze, he is just out in a no ideal option situation in responding to the market. He can't make everyone happy, so has decided on trying to find market equilibrium pricing. Econ 101. 

 

I'm not going to fault a guy in business trying to make money, and let the customers decide.

 

There are places I feel ripped off and never go back, and there are other places where I think the pricing is justified, even if I don't want to pay up. And per your article, there's a place across the street from my office that always has Pappy on the shelves, and I am 90% sure they refill, because I don't have the same level of trust in their owners than I do in the manager/establishment I referenced above.

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petrel800

My personal opinion, restaurants would be better off saving their allocated stuff and doing 1 to 2 specialty prix fixe dinners that included those items in the dinner.  


I'm more likely to patron an evening event with multiple courses and pairings with a fixed price then I am to care about individual pours at the bar.

 

Quite frankly, it is all pretty absurdly priced in a bar.  I can actually rationalize some of the pricing for pours of the higher end stuff.  In the end, if I go out to eat and drink, I want a classic cocktail before dinner and wine with dinner.  If I want a night cap, I'm happy doing it at home.  

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Flyfish
10 hours ago, musekatcher said:

 

That's a good one.  He's apologizing because $480 per bottle isn't enough profit for him.  I finally decided, that same level of greed coexists with refilling, especially the more expensive brands like WLW, GTS, PVW, etc.  For many folks, Bourbon Deluxe may taste quite good! lol..

 

http://fortune.com/2017/11/03/worlds-most-expensive-dram-scotch-vintage-whisky-fake/

One of the celebrity chefs on the Food Network recommended drinking your cocktails at home because the markup is about 1000%. (He is/was a restaurant owner himself. What gives with that?) On the chalk board he added up the price he paid (not the retail price) for standard ingredients and divided by the number of servings derived from said ingredients. Sure enough, 1000%. Part of the problem is who gets to define "greed." Dad-proof was perfectly OK with $35 for a pour of WLW. And I'm OK with his decision because it's his money. Personally, I'd rather have a whole bottle of something else for $35.

While I'm on a rant, I am old enough to remember when a pot of coffee came with your meal at no extra charge. These days, coffee can cost as much as the entree. Many restaurants make a really high percentage of their total revenue on the beverages.

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dad-proof

I should add that restaurant pricing bothers me a lot less when it goes on the expense account.

 

:+)

 

Aside from business and 1 drink on date nights, I only drink at home or at friend's houses, so I agree with you guys. Still, paying $50 for Al Young may be my only chance to experience it. And sometimes for an LE I'd rather do that and use the balance of what a bottle costs to buy a case of BT store picks.

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Dango
20 hours ago, dad-proof said:

Sorry. Insomnia. Here are prices for a place near me, maybe some maybe a bit out of date, but I think more than fair. I still have never tried 95% of these (tell me if I am missing a must have!) as it's not really kid friendly, and the rare occasion my wife and I go it's not really what I'm looking to get after... I'm perfectly content with a pour ETL, ECBP, and RHF at their prices.

 

Woodford Reserve Batch Proof $25
Weller 12 Year $16
William Larue Weller BTAC 2017 $40
Wild Turkey 17 Year Masters Keep $31
Rock Hill Farms Single Barrel $11
Pappy Van Winkle 15 Year $55
Pappy Van Winkle 20 Year $75
Pappy Van Winkle 23 Year $100
Parker's Heritage collection 10th 24yr $51
Parker's Heritage Collection 11th $25
Old Rip Van Winkle 10 Year $25
Old Van Winkle 12 Year $35
Kentucky Owl 11 Year Rye $29
Jim Beam Distiller's Masterpiece $40
George Stagg BTAC 2017 $40
George Stagg, Stagg Jr. $12
Four Roses 50th Anniversary $36
Four Roses Barrel Strength Elliot 2016 $27
Four Roses Limited Edition Small Batch 2015 $27
Four Roses Limited Edition Small Batch 2016 $27
Four Roses Limited Edition Small Batch 2017 $27
Elijah Craig Bourbon 18 Year $25
Elijah Craig Bourbon 23 Year $54
Elijah Craig Bourbon Barrel Strength $10
Elmer T Lee Bourbon $8
Eagle Rare 17 Year Bourbon BTAC 2017 $40
Colonel E H Taylor  Straight Rye BIB $35
Colonel E H Taylor Four Grain $35

These are very reasonable prices that make sense. 

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mattbta

Wife's cousin sent this last night. Oof.IMG_1516.jpeg

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dcbt
18 hours ago, Flyfish said:

While I'm on a rant, I am old enough to remember when a pot of coffee came with your meal at no extra charge. These days, coffee can cost as much as the entree. Many restaurants make a really high percentage of their total revenue on the beverages.

20 years ago during college I interviewed with a restaurant owner to help him with accounting, and he told me even then he just hoped to break even on food, and almost all of his profit came exclusively from drinks.

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mikeydk
3 hours ago, dcbt said:

20 years ago during college I interviewed with a restaurant owner to help him with accounting, and he told me even then he just hoped to break even on food, and almost all of his profit came exclusively from drinks.

I think this still rings true today.  There was an upscale BBQ joint here in the bay area that had an incredible booze wall, and happy hour food pricing that was just stupid from a business perspective.  Went there often for practically a decade, lots of the same faces at the bar every time I visited, and finally asked the Chef/Owner how he could make any money on the same people ordering oversized quality pulled pork nachos at $5 a plate?  He said, "it's salty, rich, fatty food.  Which means people will need several drinks to go with it."  He used his happy hour food as a loss leader, to get people in, and serve them drinks, lots of em.  

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fishnbowljoe

It’s always the liquid refreshment. Way back in the day, Mrs. Fishnbowljoe managed a McDonalds.The total cost for them back then to make a large Coke was $0.05.  :mellow:  

 

Biba! Joe

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mbroo5880i

I once passed on a pour of the original George Remus (preprohibition) at a Cincinnati hotel for $70.  The waitress did get the bartender to allow her to bring the bottle to the table so I could look at it and take a sniff.  

 

I recently had what looked to be close to a double pour of Knob Creek on the rocks for $5.25 at a restaurant in Huntington, WV.  I will go back next time I am there.

 

 

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Saul_cooperstein

The ‘break even on food make it up on drinks’ is a falacy. From what I have seen, well run Restaurants are usually 50% marginal profit on food...challenge is getting enough marginal profit to pay for fixed costs (including base minimum labor). 

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mikeydk
1 hour ago, Saul_cooperstein said:

The ‘break even on food make it up on drinks’ is a falacy. From what I have seen, well run Restaurants are usually 50% marginal profit on food...challenge is getting enough marginal profit to pay for fixed costs (including base minimum labor). 

Key words there, "well run."  Many are not and they make terrible decisions, and mistakes.  My above mentioned BBQ place was well run early on in its existence, drinks were moderately priced, food appropriately priced, and a terrific reasonably priced whiskey wall.  Ownership and management changed, they went crazy focused on their "loyal" customers happy hour habits and slashed prices on the happy hour food, and jacked up the drinks.  They went downhill, changed owners, food quality suffered to maintain the "loyalty" of their guests unwillingness to purchase anything more than $5 appetizers that they expected to be full meal size, and again raised drink prices.  They no longer exist but in memory.  

 

In a more general sense, drinking at restaurants for me is a rare happening these days.  I have a better selection at home after all.  I will on occasion have a pour of something I've never had that is something I'd have to pay aftermarket pricing for just to see if I should get ahold of one.  Mostly, it's a manhattan with a steak dinner type of thing, which is seasonal for me.  

 

 

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T Comp

Have friends who own a restaurant and do just fine with BYOB, not even a corkage fee. They are  both veterans in the business and specifically didn’t want the hassle and expenses of a bar. Every business and situation is of course different so hard to generalize. 

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Jav

Over the weekend I had a couple pours of whisky at a local restaurant.  The first was a $15 pour of Maker's Cask Strength, which I had never tried.  It was delicious!  Now I do want a bottle.

 

I also had a store pick of cask strength Whisky Del Bac Dorado  for $12.  If you're unfamiliar, it's a scotch style single malt whisky dried with mesquite smoke.  It was like drinking a camp fire.  Just a bit too much smoke for me.  But the normal 90 proof whisky costs about $50 a bottle.  I'm not sure what the cask strength (around 120 proof) runs at, but $12 seemed like a decent price.  Both pours were very generous, I would say at least 2 ounces.

 

I don't frequently drink in bars and restaurants, but it was fun to try a few things I don't have bottles of!

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