Ontario government to allow BYOB for restaurants?
By Marshall Bellamy
BYOB may no longer be something you only hear before house
parties and bush bashes, because the Ontario government might
allow restaurant patrons to bring their own booze for meals.
Jim Watson, the Ontario Minister of Business and Consumer
Services is holding consultations with various groups in consideration
for a change in the province’s liquor laws to allow outside
alcohol to be brought into restaurants, confirmed Rui Estevoa,
Watson’s press secretary
The proposed plan would see patrons paying only a modest “corking
fee” by the restaurant, he said.
Watson will meet with representatives from various stake holders,
such as restaurant and hotel groups, family groups and even
the beer lobby, Estevoa explained. “There are a few that
have concerns; we’re doing our best on addressing those
concerns,” he added.
“I’m 80 per cent sure the [Alcohol and Gaming
Commission of Ontario] isn’t a stake holder,” he
said, adding he was unsure why the AGCO was being excluded.
“It’s a terrible idea. I can’t imagine if
that would come to fruition,” said Jeff Armour, site
manager of The Wave.
According to Armour, the proposal raises a host of issues,
ranging from keeping track of the amount of alcohol the customers
have consumed to the problem of curbing underage drinking.
“It’ll be abused. As soon as they open that hole,
every student and his brother will be bringing in a bottle
of cooking sherry,” he said, adding that even if the
law allows only wine, and prohibits spirits and beer, it would
still pose problems.
Michelle King, a waitress at a local Kelsey’s restaurant,
echoed some of Armour’s sentiments, but pointed out the
problems it would pose to sales. “In my opinion, I think
it’s a bad idea. It would bring sales down because it’ll
fill people up.”
Not only would the new policy hurt food and drink sales, but
tips for servers would also be adversely affected because restaurant
goers would require less of their services, she added.
“I don’t think it’s really appropriate.
If they’re going to the restaurant they should be provided
with the wine,” said fourth-year French student Georgia
Korstanji. “I just don’t think it’s classy,
not that I’m a snob.”
“It’s a great idea — I don’t think
it’ll change anything. I don’t drink when I’m
at restaurants,” explained Belinda Bank, a second-year
geography student, noting concern over the cost of the corking