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Wednesday 27 March 2024

Wine menu prices reflect greed, says leading restaurateur

It is not just in Australia that restaurants are under fire for the massive mark-ups of their wine prices. 

“[Some] restaurants charge crazy prices for wines” says one leading French restaurateur, responding to similar criticism.

Parisian restaurant operator Franck Astruc has weighed in on behalf of consumers, the Vitisphere website reported.

Astruc operates the Café des Ternes brasserie, the Café des Beaux-Arts in central Paris, and the Bistrot Faubourg in La Défense.

"When you buy wines for your restaurant and you see the prices displayed by others, you quickly see that it no longer makes any sense," Astruc says. 

"The vast majority of restaurants charge crazy prices for wines, which consumers cannot afford. 

"It is understandable to put a coefficient of 3 on the price of a bottle purchased below €40, but it is not possible above €50. Doubling the price with VAT included is acceptable, it allows a good margin. 

"But let's not go too far. And the accountants can say whatever they want so that I put in more, with this margin we are already making money. But we don't kill customers. Without going below the price of wine merchants."

Many restaurants see wine as a way of making up for losses they make on food. 

"By buying at €100 and selling at €200 we make money even though we have done nothing," says Astruc. 

"We opened and put a bottle on the table with glasses. We didn't get in the tractor to move the earth, we didn't face hail, we didn't have the problems with the vines.. 

"Of course Burgundy wines have increased their prices a lot. 

"Yes it’s expensive, but the winegrowers do 100% of the work. If they put in a 10% increase, we pass it on, so let's not complain too much and think about reducing our margins. 

"The winegrowers sell us at €100 a bottle, but some restaurants put it at €400. They are the ones who are killing the business. We have to look at the long term. 

"My customers buy more wine and send other customers as we are reasonable on prices. I prefer to have a margin that gains sales, rather than a coefficient that leads to a reduction of consumption.

"Restaurants are not obliged to sell wines at stratospheric prices. With an affordable price, the consumer will not buy one bottle, but two."

Image: Daniel Rivera,  

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