Server says youre wildly overpaying for wine. Here's how to know how much

Olga/Adobe Stock @poorandhungry/TikTok (Licensed)

‘You’re getting absolutely ripped off’: Server says you’re ‘wildly overpaying’ for wine at restaurants. Here’s how to know how much

'Fun fact: it's [true] for every restaurant I've ever worked at.'


Sarah Conklin


Posted on Mar 10, 2024   Updated on Mar 10, 2024, 3:37 pm CDT

Restaurant patrons may expect to pay more for wine when dining out than when enjoying a bottle at home. In a viral TikTok, server Syd shares just how much you are overpaying. 

Syd (@poorandhungry) is known for creating content about life as a server. Her latest TikTok has reached over 173,900 views as of Sunday. 

The viral video was created in response to a comment made on a previous TikTok. In the equally popular video, Syd talks about pour sizes in restaurants. A top comment by @thebeangrower read, “It’s true, ordering wine at a restaurant is a complete ripoff!”

Over 600 people liked the comment, and many replied with their opinions. Syd created a video reply to expand on the subject. 

The reply opens with Syd addressing the camera, saying, “Here’s a little fun fact.” 

“If you are ever in a restaurant and wonder how much this bottle of wine is actually worth, like, ‘Am I overpaying?'” Syd says before confirming the answer is yes.

“You are wildly overpaying for wine!” she says, going on to explain just how restaurants price their wine.

She explains that to find the true cost, patrons should look at the bottle section of the wine list. Syd claims that by dividing the cost of a bottle by four and subtracting one, you can find how much the restaurant paid for the bottle.

She goes on to give an example: a $40 bottle of wine will only cost the restaurant $9.

Syd explains why there is such a markup on wine. “Any restaurant with a liquor license is either breaking even or losing money on the food. They make all of their money on alcohol,” she elaborates.

Syd recommends saving money by buying a bottle versus a glass if you plan to have more than one drink. Her ultimate hack is asking to have the bottle corked to take home with you, which is legal in many states.

@poorandhungry Replying to @thebeangrower i feel the same way about anything bottled or canned. Youre getting absolutely ripped off #server #customerservice #restaurant #serverlife #wine ♬ original sound – $yd

Sommelier Business, an online source for all things wine, confirms this theory. According to the website, “The industry standard is to mark up a bottle of wine 200-300% over its retail sales price. For rare, expensive or specialty wines, the markups could be as high as 400%.” The source gives their own rationale for this markup. “This pricing strategy helps to build in the types of margins that you will likely require in order to be financially successful.” 

Syd’s bottom line? “If you are ordering wine at restaurants you are getting absolutely fleeced!” she says.

Commenters shared their own experiences with wine markup when dining out.

“I got a glass of wine recently when we went out to dinner & I was like omg this so good. I looked it up to see how much the bottle was at the store and it was less than the glass I bought!” @marysmothers528 commented.

@emilyjobot shared her real-life example, writing, “There’s a wine i love that’s €8 in Rome, $18 at costco, $27 at my grocery store, and $60 at this fancy steakhouse we went to once!”

But for some, the restaurant experience is worth it. 

“I know it’s a ripoff, but it makes the dining out experience so much better haha,” one viewer shared. 

“I love having a nice drink at dinner, I feel better now knowing I’m contributing to profit for the restaurant,” another added.

Daily Dot reached out to Syd via direct message for further comment. 

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*First Published: Mar 10, 2024, 4:00 pm CDT