The gimmick: Beer, wine and spirits served at restaurants can be enough to make anyone a teetotaler.
A bottle of spirits is marked up about 300 percent; wine, 200 percent, DeNinno says. Beer is even more, depending on whether it’s bottled or on tap. A bottled beer could be marked up 400 percent while a draft might be 600 percent.
And the cheaper the wine, the greater the profit compared to a more expensive vintage, Karp adds.
Soft drinks, tea, coffee and bottled water also have huge price markups, he says.
“Restaurants often operate on thin margins and have to make their profit somewhere,” Karp says. “It just doesn’t have to come from you.”
Food for thought: You could bring your own bottle to the restaurant, though you might be charged a corking or “corkage” fee. Or, you could make “drinks back at the house” part of your dining-out routine and order tap water with dinner, Karp suggests. You won’t have to worry about driving.