Mad about outrageous corkage fees? Here’s one to make you angrier

How many times have you decided to go to a restaurant, and instead of buying one of their (slightly) overpriced wines off their wine menu, you’ve brought a special bottle with you from home or from the liquor store down the street?

Web Watch likes to eat at one local favorite specifically because they don’t have a liquor license and encourage guests to bring a bottle of wine from home.  They ask only $5 per bottle, perhaps to cover glass cleaning and the servers’ time in presenting the cork to us.

But considering that a $5 per bottle corkage fee is extremely reasonable in today’s restaurant world, we’re happy to pay that instead of other options that could be made.

Corkage Fee
Corkage Fee

So while $5 is definitely not the norm when it comes to corkage fees, it really comes down to what the restaurant feels is a proper use of their staff’s time.  They go through the effort to have plenty of unique wines that are perfectly paired with their special meals, and then Joe Brutus comes along and decides to bypass that carefully planned beverage with some rot gut from their own collection.

So instead of being able to charge 100-200% more for a bottle of wine vs buying it elsewhere, the restaurant has to do something to subsidize their waitstaff’s incomes (when ordering alcohol would more than make up that difference, you know).  Hence, a corkage fee.

But according to BusinessWeek, there are  TWO RESTAURANTS IN NEW YORK that are charging upwards of $90 per bottle for a corkage fee.

$5 versus $90.  Web Watch doesn’t care how good the food is at those two snotty McSnoot places – we’re going to stick with our $5 corkage charge at our local venue.

But enough about wine.

Have you heard about the latest trend at restaurants these days, if you choose to bring your own cake for a birthday or anniversary celebration?

They’re starting to charge CAKEAGE FEES, to cover the waitstaff’s cutting of your cake and using restaurant dishware.  And that cakeage fee can even be $5 per slice of cake served!   Restaurants must really want you to order their $6 chocolate molten lava cake instead of bringing your own cake to their place, even if you did just spend a bunch of money on other food and drink at their place.

So what do you think?  Are restaurants right to charge cakeage fees if you bring your own cake?  What’s the worst charge you’ve ever had for a cake service?  Leave your thoughts in the comments below…