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Thread: Corkage Fee

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    Corkage Fee

    Hi all

    I am busy negotiating with a restaurant to host an event, a formal dinner. The restaurant is not licensed so we have to take our own wine. However, they want to charge us R40 corkage fee per bottle. Surely they cannot charge a corkage fee if they are not licensed?

    Cheers

    KC

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    Diamond Member adrianh's Avatar
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    You are not paying for the wine, you are paying for the privilege of using the venue.
    How easily someone is offended is directly proportional to how stupid they are.
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    Diamond Member AndyD's Avatar
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    Forty bucks is a bit steep if they can't offer you their own wines. Assuming they're supplying food then what they're charging you amounts to glass rental when it boils down to it . Good luck with the negotiation.
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    Quote Originally Posted by adrianh View Post
    You are not paying for the wine, you are paying for the privilege of using the venue.
    There is already a venue hire fee as well.

    I'm just wondering if they can actually legally charge corkage if they do not have a liquor license?

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    Diamond Member adrianh's Avatar
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    The fact that they do not have a license to sell alcohol has no bearing on whether they can charge a corkage fee. They could charge a stiletto heel fee if they felt like it.
    How easily someone is offended is directly proportional to how stupid they are.
    ~GS Elevator

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    They can charge what they like I'm afraid. Corkage itself is normally charged at places that don't have licenses, so no problem there.

    The R40 does seem steep though, perhaps ask them to justify it. Keep in mind that they will be expected to ice the wine, deal with wine spills / stains, broken wine glasses, and they will be losing out on not selling their own soft drinks.

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    Moderator IanF's Avatar
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    Just don't upset them too much, you don't want to deal with a surly owner and waiters because you pushed them on the price.
    Maybe they say the average markup on wine is R40 per bottle therefor that is the corkage fee.
    Only stress when you can change the outcome!

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    Diamond Member Blurock's Avatar
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    At least they allow you to bring your own wine. I attended a wedding recently where you had to buy everything from the bar, including their cheapskate wine at an inflated price. When we asked the barman what wines they had in stock, he replied:"dry wine, sweet wine and um, ...I think semi-sweet." Obviously no wine culture in that town!
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    So, I Googled it and found a Liquor License specialist who very kindly took my call.

    The bottom line is this. If the restaurant does not have a liquor license, they cannot charge corkage. However, strictly speaking we should also not be allowed to bring wine onto the premises (He says the industry generally turns a blind eye to this)

    Interestingly, if the food was free (no money exchanges hands) then alcohol is allowed, public venue or not, but still no corkage fee can be charged.

    So, how to proceed? I think I will meet them halfway and offer to pay a R20 corkage. That way we are all breaking the law and everybody is happy!

    Cheers

    KC

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    Diamond Member AndyD's Avatar
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    I don't think I'd turn it into a legal discussion, I think the key point was the 'busy negotiating' phrase in your opening post so put together a case for paying less than R40 and carry on negotiating. I just think it's expensive because you can get a very drinkable bottle of wine for R40-R50 and to pay the same amount in corkage again when they aren't in a position to offer an equivalent product themselves would leave a bad taste.
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