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BYOB transparency can boost appeal to millennial customers

Educating customers about BYOB options could help restaurants appeal to millennial diners, a new study from the University of Houston’s Conrad N. Hilton College of Hotel and Restaurant Management shows.

"People—especially young people—often feel uncomfortable consuming wine at a restaurant. It can be intimidating,” said Dr. Chris Taylor, one of the study’s authors. “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.”

Restaurant markups on alcohol can be restrictive for millennial customers without a lot of disposable income, leading them to skip drinks or to dine somewhere else altogether, Taylor said.

Those same customers, however, could be on board with bringing their own beverages and paying a small corkage fee if the option is available. The trick is to ensure customers are aware that a BYOB option exists as well as how it works, he added, as confusion about BYOB policies and corkage fees can keep customers from taking advantage of them.

"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,” Taylor said. 

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