I’ve been inspired by Bret Treasure’s post about Cafe Marketing with No Budget to have a look around my local cafes and eateries to see how they draw the crowds. I live amongst the cafe social set so there’s quite a choice. One of the things that struck me was that some of the places still had a corkage charge for BYO drinks. The question is why?
If you’re not familiar with the term, corkage, it is a small fee that eateries charge their customers when they choose to bring their own drinks rather than buy from the eatery’s selection. Usually it applies only to alcoholic beverages, but I have also seen it apply to non-alcoholic ones as well. The charge is supposed to encourage customers to choose from the house selection which is fine if you have a decent cellar. However, most cafes and restaurants have a meagre range of beverages to choose from and I’ve even seen one BYO restaurant attempt to impose the fee upon its patrons.
The restaurant and cafe trade are cut-throat businesses. Most operate on wafer-thin margins, so why would you choose to antagonise potential customers (or return patronage) by charging them additional fees? Instead of gouging them for every last penny that you can, why not adapt your range of beverages to something that your customers want to drink (you know instead of that old dishwater you picked up in bulk from your uncle)? Or better, why not realise that a cafe is never going to stock an adequate range, and encourage customers to bring their own at no charge. You can even do what the Globe has done and feature it in your marketing.Tags: beverage, cafe, corkage, customer service, eatery, food, restaurant