This summer, diners began to re-enter the restaurant cautiously, and millions of Canadians will soon face a familiar pre-pandemic problem: order a bottle of wine.
In addition to taste preferences and food matching issues, one of the biggest factors influencing decisions is often price. Many diners choose their own wine or the cheapest wine on the menu. At the same time, wine lovers tend to buy more expensive things, but most diners will choose something in between—don’t know where is the most cost-effective.
A kind Latest research by British researchers Researchers at the London School of Economics and the University of Sussex are trying to answer this age-old question—the numbers suggest some counterintuitive conclusions.
Researchers surveyed 249 restaurants in London that publish wine lists online. A total of 6,335 bottles of different wines were listed online in the restaurants surveyed-this is a large database where researchers can cross-reference the retail prices of these wines with the retail prices.
Anyone who has ordered a bottle of wine at dinner will not be surprised to find that restaurant wine prices are on average about 300% higher than retail prices. Although the price increase varies by restaurant and wine type, there are some broad trends in the number of people drinkers may want to drink.
“Is the second cheapest particularly bad?”
A widely circulated urban legend believes that the most popular wine on a restaurant’s wine list is usually the second cheapest, because most people like to buy cheap wines, but not necessarily the cheapest. The report’s co-author and associate professor of economics at the University of Sussex, Vikram Pathania, said: “This is based on the idea that people don’t like to look cheap when sitting in a restaurant.”
He said in an interview: “You don’t want to go to the cheapest one, because your dining partner or waiter is staring at you…so you study the wine list carefully-then go to the second one anyway.” with CBC News .
According to this logic, diners with conspiracy theories have long suspected that restaurants are aware of this impulse and will adjust their wine lists so that the cheapest wine they buy will be the second cheapest, in order to force diners to buy. Maximize their profits.
Patania said: “There is a view that the people who run the restaurant know this and they can actually take advantage of the stigma of the cheapest order and charge a high price for the second time.”
But according to his research, this theory is not tenable-the second cheapest wine on the menu is actually a good value, and the price increase is only about 25% higher than the cheapest bottle of wine. menu.
“To be fair, if you buy bottled wine in a restaurant, you will be blackmailed. But the question is: Is the second cheapest particularly bad? No, not particularly bad,” Patania said.
The data shows that what diners really get bored is when they order wines numbered 3 to 6 on the menu. On average, the markup may be more than 50% higher than the best bargain on the list.
The data shows that in absolute terms, the markup rate of the most expensive wine bottles is obviously higher, but in percentage terms, high-end wines are actually more valuable than cheaper products.
The better news for frugal foodies is that the cheapest wines are actually often the most valuable. “The cheapest is actually a relatively low markup, then the second cheapest is slightly higher. The third is even higher. It peaks in the middle, and then towards the high end, the markup starts to drop again,” Patania explain.
Canadian rules are different
Toronto restaurateur Suzanne Barr runs kitchens and restaurants all over the world, including more than one in Canada. She said that although liquor sales can indeed be a reliable money-making tool for restaurants, they are not a cash cow in Ontario because the province is managed by LCBO. Way of alcohol.
Unlike many other jurisdictions where restaurants pay wholesale prices, any liquor sales business in Ontario pays the same price as drinkers in most cases. She said in an interview: “What many people don’t understand is that we may be making the glass of wine for 15 dollars. I don’t know, it is 3 or 4 dollars.”
Barr said that most restaurant owners make the wine list the same way they make the menu, to ensure that it follows a theme and harmonizes with the overall atmosphere of the place. But they obviously realize that some bottles are more profitable than others.
“It’s like owning a [go-to] “The dishes on the menu,” she said. “We won’t spend so much money to make this dish, but we knew we would sell a ton of this dish. “
Barr said that with the return of dining at the restaurant, she suspects that customers will be forced to spend more than before the COVID-19 pandemic and buy expensive bottles to reward themselves after they have been trapped at home to eat for so long. “Because maybe when I go to LCBO or Wine Rack, I will only buy that yellowtail, because it really is something I can afford.”
Only time will tell what diners in many parts of Canada will do when they return to restaurants for the first time in more than a year, but Patania’s research has provided some useful suggestions for millions of diners who are about to venture out.
“I have a rule of thumb: If you pay the bill, and you think the cheapest drink is available, choose the cheapest one,” he said.
But given that the percentage of high-end wines is usually lower than the cheapest wines, “If there is a wine you really like and you know your wine, then go buy it.”