Bottle Opening Fee

Many restaurants in Shanghai charge a bottle-opening fee for any wine brought by customers themselves. The typical amount is 50 RMB per bottle. I didn’t know the reason of this pricing and thought it was too expensive.

Recently, when I compare the purchase price and the retail price of the wine, I started to form a theory that they charge for 50 RMB, because that is the typical margin for them to sell a bottle of wine there. For example, a bottle of wine priced at 100 RMB/bottle are likely to have about 50 RMB as purchase price. Does it make sense?

6 thoughts on “Bottle Opening Fee

  1. Pat

    You are correct. The customer gets to bring a wine they like that the restaurant may not sell, and the restaurant still makes the same profit as if they sold their wine to the customer. This is also a common practice in some U.S. restaurants.

  2. Guan Yang

    As Pat said, this is a very common practice and is known as a “corkage fee”.

    Some restaurants have started charging a fee if you bring your own dessert and expect to eat it. This is sometimes known as a “forkage fee”.

  3. Zimago

    Over here in Switzerland, you’re not allowed to bring in your own bottle of wine. But that’s because we have good wine available in nearly every restaurant (we’re very close to Italy and France, so prices here are OK for those, plus our own Swiss wines are pretty famous, we even export them to China !). ;-)

  4. Jian Shuo Wang Post author

    I believe the main reason people bringing wines is because of limited selection, high price, and maybe suspicious about whether the wine is fake or not.

  5. Guan Yang

    Even at a restaurant with a well stocked wine cellar, there can be reasons to bring your own wine. You might have a very rare wine or a bottle of something the restaurant has run out of. With few exceptions, it’s common and accepted at even the best restaurants in New York.

  6. Anon

    Wine is a very high margin product for restaurants. Bottles that you could buy for 100 sell for 200 or 250 at restaurants. Paying the corkage is usually a lot more economical, plus you can also bring a bottle that you know you enjoy, rather than pay the big mark up on something you might not.

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