The Myth of 'Cheaper by the Bottle'

Let's take a bottle of wine (750ml) which you are going to sell at £12.00, then it is fair to say the equivalent large glass (250ml) of wine should work out at £4.00 (one third) to bring in the same revenue. Most operators however, will charge MORE than this per glass as they want to encourage you to purchase the full bottle.

My strategy to encourage a good following of regulars in the bar (to supplement our dining revenue) was to make it 'cheaper by the glass'. In this case, perhaps £3.85.

But is this fair to your diners who you want to encourage to return? Well let's think about that for a minute. Whether it is the couple on Table 1 or the group on Table 12, they will tend to order by the bottle regardless of pricing for any number of the following reasons:

To quickly get 'settled in' for the evening or occasion.
To enjoy the 'sharing' element that such a purchase brings.
To avoid the hassle of looking for the waitress every time they need a refill.
To show off. (To their date, to other tables nearby or sometimes just their wealth.)
To feel pampered.
To get a quick consensus (in a group)
To easily calculate everyon's share of the bill.
And because they figure they will be paying less for it as it's usually 'cheaper by the bottle'.

Therefore if you charge less by the glass:
The average diner won't notice - especially if the food and service meet expectations.
The astute diner will figure it out and perhaps order by the glass. (But will they count how many they have?)
And the best diners won't care - and they are the ones you should be working to attract anyway by exceeding their expectations.

And if you still need convincing why your bottles should bring in more revenue, don't forget about the added cost to your bottom line for the service staff, linen, rented floor space and general cost of time and energy that adds up while uncorking and topping up at the table.

Meanwhile in the bar, very few of your punters buying their drinks in rounds will calculate how much wine they are consuming by the glass and consequently drink more of it. And if they think it is good value, they will convince themselves to have another round since they are "saving" every time they spend.