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Feb 7, 2013 09:11 AM

Tipping when you bring a bottle of wine to a restaurant

When you bring a bottle of wine to a BYO restaurant I usually add 5% to my tip. Example; bill is $100.00 I usually tip 20% so I would tip 25%. Is that sufficent?

What about if you bring to a restauarnt that serves wine but allows you to bring a bottle. Add the retail cost of the wine to the bill?

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    1. re: RebelWithaCause

      Not the BYOs but those that serve wine do, it varies.

    2. I up my tip, but not to include the cost of the bottle... when I BYO I bring something that would be well north of $100... but I would not buy that from the restaurant (where wine list price is north of $200),,,

      1 Reply
      1. re: dyrewolf

        A BYO restaurant would not have wine, but one that does but allows you to bring wine (as long as it isn't on their wine list, as a rule), I would bring something over $100.00 retail. At a BYO, who cares, even a KJ Merlot!! :)

      2. For places that are 100% BYO, I would tip slightly more. For places that serve wine, I tip quite a bit more if not charged corkage. If charged corkage, I generally don't change my tip.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Brad Ballinger

          Just a point here............... From everything I know the corkage fee is usually NOT shared with the server or other staff. It goes to the business. If the point of a tip is to reward service, the service of bringing you glasses and pouring your wine is not being compensated unless you leave a tip that acknowledges that. How much is up to you, but the corkage fee doesn't accomplish that at all.

        2. Generally speaking, the time and effort spent in terms of service re: a bottle of wine is the SAME, whether it's purchased off the list or brought into the restaurant by the patron. That is to say: polishing the glassware, setting the table, and use thereof; time taken to open the bottle, wait while patron samples wine, pouring first round; use (or not) of ice bucket; refilling glasses; etc., etc., etc. -- these things happen regardless of whether the bottle is one that comes off the restaurant's wine list or is carried in by the patron. Thus, the server is spending an equal amount of time attending to the party that brought wine with them as he or she will spend with the party that purchased from the establishment's list.

          They should be compensated equally, too, IMHO.

          Any corkage fees go into the restaurant's cash register, not into the pockets of any server(s). A "corkage fee" is to give the restaurant the additional profit that the restaurant "lost" when a patron decided to bring a bottle INTO the restaurant, rather than order one FROM the restaurant.

          Considering that, when I bring wine(s) into a restaurant, they are generally *older* vintages (say, from the 20th century), I will often pour some wine for the server and/or the chef -- presuming that they are each "into" wine -- as well as leave a tip for the server.

          I make NO distinction between whether the establishment has an alcoholic beverage license or not.

          4 Replies
          1. re: zin1953

            Hmm. I make the distinction between whether the place has a winelist or not. I also make a distinction as to whether or not I am charged corkage.

            If a place does not have a winelist, they aren't losing the revenue or the tip from me NOT buying off their list. Also, while not always the case the stems, decanting, and even wine service are typically not top-end at a place with no list. At a total byo a typical table is probably just having a diet coke and it probably isn't that high-end anyway. Barring an atypically fine byo-place, I wouldn't feel too compelled to tip as if they were serving me a $100 bottle of wine. I might leave the server an extra $10, which might double the food-based tip at an inexpensive place.

            Regardless of the type place, I typically give the server half the corkage in tip (on top of everything else) if they waive it. If it gets waived due to a policy of buy one - waive one by the establishment, then I wouldn't give the server the corkage.

            I typically bring wine that ranges from $100-500 on a list. I don't tip based upon this value as I would not pay that off a list. I typically look at what the lower priced wines on a list go for and also consider if I got any exemplary service (decanting, multiple stems etc). I start at the standard 20% using the price of the lowest wines, and would add an extra couple of percent for added service. Btw, I would not then tip on the corkage as well.

            1. re: john gonzales

              I must be missing something, but your last two paragraphs seem to be in opposition with each other. Regardless of wine list or bnot you tip half the corkage if they waive it; nothing if they don't or if it's 1 to 1. But............ the last paragraph says you tip based on 20% of the lowest wine prices??? I'm confused.

              1. re: Midlife

                To clarify (I think): In the case of a corkage fee, I still use my customary 20% (based on the list cost of a low priced wine). I will give them an ADDITIONAL half of the corkage if they just waive it. Kind of a "you scratch my back.." deal. If I pay the full restaurant corkage, I will give nothing ADDITIONAL, but would still tip the 20% on the wine.
                Giving the server the half the corkage is in a way having them put something in their pocket instead of the establishment, but that's not my problem and I don't lobby for it up front.

          2. if the server does any work associated with serving my wine, i tip whether or not the restaurant is byo and whether or not they charge corkage.

            if the server treats my wine as well as s/he would if i bought the wine from the restaurant, i leave 20% of the cost of a mid-priced bottle from their list--more if they end up taking the time to properly decant the wine.