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Study: Restaurants Should Educate Diners About BYOB Options to Attract Millennial Customers

HOUSTON—Educating potential diners about BYOB options could help restaurants attract more Millennial customers, according to research conducted by Dr. Chris Taylor at the University of Houston Conrad N. Hilton College of Hotel and Restaurant Management and his colleague, Dr. Nelson Barber of the University of New Hampshire.

The two created an online survey for the study and had more than 4,800 people respond. The survey asked questions to gauge how corkage fees can influence the dining experience.

“People—especially young people—often feel uncomfortable consuming wine at a restaurant. It can be intimidating. And when you bring a BYOB policy and potential corkage fee into the equation, it becomes even trickier, because those customers who are not big wine-drinkers don’t understand what they’re paying for,” Taylor said.

According to the survey responses, misconceptions about BYOB policies and corkage fees can cause some customers to shy away from enjoying their own beverages at restaurants.

“The restaurant mark-up on wine is typically three or four times the retail cost of the bottle, which can be really restrictive for younger customers without a lot of disposable income,” Taylor said.

Those same customers, though, could benefit from bringing their own bottle of wine and paying a nominal corkage fee—if they even know that option exists.

“Our research shows that if Millennials know about BYOB etiquette and corkage fees, they’re willing to pay for that service and see the value in it. What the restaurants need to do is make sure they understand how that works,” Taylor said.

Taylor Wiley