Can You Bring Your Own Wine To Drink At Olive Garden?

olive garden wine
olive garden wine - Static Media / Shutterstock / Getty

Everybody loves Olive Garden for its generous Italian-American plates and complimentary breadsticks, but no Italian dinner would be complete without a bottle of wine. The restaurant has an extensive wine list to choose from, but there are times when you might want to bring your own bottle to dinner. Letting guests bring wine into a restaurant can cut into the business's profits, but many eateries will allow people to do it anyway, so long as customers pay a corkage fee. If you're looking to dine at Olive Garden with your own wine, you may be wondering if it operates this way. The answer is unfortunately not as clear as it could be.

In short, only some Olive Gardens allow guests to bring their own wine to dinner. There doesn't seem to be any clear pattern regarding where this practice is allowed. Since Olive Garden operates with a franchise model, it appears that the decision to allow customers to BYOW is left to the individual store owner, despite everything else on the menu being consistent across the board. So, you'll need to contact the exact location you're planning to eat at to ask if it allows it.

To make sure we had accurate info, we reached out to four different Olive Gardens, and three of the four said we couldn't bring our own bottle, though this is a small sample size. Just follow good restaurant etiquette for bringing wine, and call beforehand to be sure.

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Bringing Your Own Wine Is A Good Way To Personalize Your Dinner

wine pasta dinner
wine pasta dinner - Linda Raymond/Getty Images

If you do find an Olive Garden that allows you to drink your own wine, make sure to ask what the corkage fee is. No restaurant is going to allow you to bring wine in for free. It's a courtesy to you as the customer, but the restaurant does have operating costs to take care of. The exact price will vary from location to location, but you should expect anywhere from $7 to $10, which is pretty reasonable. For comparison, higher-end restaurants can sometimes charge triple digits for the privilege.

People tend to BYOW to dinner when they have a specific bottle they want to drink that they know the restaurant doesn't carry, but it can also be a good way to save money since restaurants often list bottles of wine several times higher than their market value. People resort to all kinds of tricks to subvert subvert wine markups at restaurants, but if the corkage fee is low enough, it's often cheaper to bring a bottle yourself.

It's a popular enough restaurant that corkage fees are only one of the many fun facts people have discovered about Olive Garden, but it's a good one to keep in mind. It does require a little bit of foresight if you don't have a personal wine collection collecting dust for just such an occasion, but it's well worth the trouble if your local franchise allows it.

Read the original article on Tasting Table.