When you move to a different country, you expect to see different things, different cultures and a different way of life. That’s why you moved, so things would be different.
But sometimes you see something different in the new country which you very quickly take for granted, so much so that you think it’s always been like that, when it hasn’t.
Yesterday, Mrs BobinOz and I, along with Elizabeth, went to a restaurant to celebrate our wedding anniversary. Just before we left, Mrs BobinOz said “I think it might be BYO, we’d better take the cool bag just in case.”
On the way over I asked her if we’d had BYO in the UK because, all of a sudden, I realised I couldn’t remember ever having been to one there.
“No.” said Mrs BobinOz.
No prizes for guessing that BYO stands for “bring your own” and having done a quick search, I see in other countries it’s more commonly called “BYOB” standing for “bring your own booze” “bring your own beer” “bring your own bottle” or “bring your own bucket”.
Now I like a good beer, but I can assure you I have never drunk out of a bucket!
Anyway, turns out our restaurant for the evening…
Basically, it means you can bring your own beer, booze, bottle or bucket and drink it on the premises. The restaurant will open your bottle of wine for you, if that’s what you have, and provide glasses for your drink from in return for “corkage”.
That’s a normally small nominal fee for providing the glasses and the service that goes with it.
So we took our cool bag with some drinks…
So the full cost of our drinks in this restaurant was:
- Three glasses of wine, approximately $9, based on drinking three quarters of a $12 bottle of wine.
- Three cans of beer, (375 mL) at a cost of $1.50 each, total $4.50.
- Two charges for corkage at $1.50 each, total $3.
- Our total drinks cost = $16.50.
If we had been buying the drinks from the bar, we would have probably paid $21 for three glasses of wine and $18 for three glasses of beer, total $39.
BYO saved us around $22.50.
That’s not the only advantage either; clearly you can take your favourite wines and beers with you. No need to choose from a list of wines you’ve never heard of, or settle for a beer you wouldn’t normally drink.
Most BYO’s don’t have a bar, but some do, giving you the choice of buying your drink on the premises or bringing your own. Best of both worlds.
According to Queensland’s Office of Liquor and Gaming Regulations, a liquor licence is not required to run a BYO restaurant but operators may need to apply for a permit from their local government authority.
Here’s another thing that wasn’t commonly done in UK restaurants when I was last there; taking away what you don’t eat. We’ve all heard of doggy bags, but that’s where all the remains are slopped into one bag to give to Rover as a treat when you get home.
But here they will pack what’s left of each individual dish into a separate takeaway container for reheating later. This was particularly handy as we had to buy an adult portion of butter chicken for Elizabeth, so the half she didn’t eat she can have as a meal another day.
I believe they’ve been doing this sort of thing in the USA for years, and they’ve certainly been doing it here in Australia for a while. But I never much came across it in the UK, but another quick search tells me that’s changing.
There is a stigma attached to asking to take your scraps home, some people find it embarrassing to do so. But a new initiative called “Too Good To Waste” is trying to overcome that and is being supported by, for example, Giles Coren, restaurant critic for The Times and top chef Antony Worrall Thompson.
Obvious benefits of the campaign are to reduce wastage and also to encourage people not to over eat simply because they don’t want to waste the food.
How about that? Doggy bags now in fashion in the UK. Makes me wonder, have any BYO’s sprung up over there yet?