A process that once took six to ten weeks only a few years ago now has restaurant owners waiting seven months or more for a liquor license.
Usually, proprietors will not wait to open for business until they are able to serve alcohol because the rent is do either way. Immediately, the thought of opening under a Bring-Your-Own policy comes to mind because serving food but no beer or wine will turn customers away and hurt early word of mouth efforts.
Customarily, alcohol could generate 10 to 30 percent of revenue at a restaurant and 40 to 50 percent of the profit, and owners are losing not only money but also potential customers who recoil from a dry establishment. For years, New Yorkers waited out the approval period by bringing a bottle of wine or a six-pack of beer, but the liquor authority recently sent letters to all license applicants reminding them that the practice is illegal under state law and can be grounds for rejecting an application.
Yes, many people don’t know that BYOB is not legal in New York State and can lead to an application being rejected.
Here it is straight from the New York State Liquor Authority Website:
BYOB, or “Bring Your Own Bottle,” where owners of establishments allow their customers to bring alcoholic beverages to
their premises to be consumed on site, is NOT PERMITTED in unlicensed businesses in New York State. You MUST have a license or permit to sell/serve beer, wine or liquor to the public. Venues without a license or permit may not allow patrons to “bring their own” alcoholic beverages for consumption. In addition, owners of businesses may not give away alcoholic beverages to their patrons. Those that do are in violation of the NYS Alcoholic Beverage Control Law.
Applicants should be aware that allowing BYOB without a license may jeopardize their chances for approval of their license.
The New York Times Article goes on to say what causes many of the rejected applications.
Restaurant and bar owners are to blame for some of the delays. “Ninety percent of the applications are incomplete when submitted,” Mr. Crowley [a spokesman for the liquor authority] said.
The authority’s 26-page “on-premises” application requires owners’ detailed financial information, prior employment experience, proof of citizenship and floor-plan details, and it also entails fingerprinting and background investigations. It asks whether music will be played (and if so, what kind) and whether dancing is planned.
It has never been more important to hire Adrian Hunte to handle the liquor license application process for you. She has previously served as General Counsel to the New York State Liquor Authority and is the leading expert in Alcoholic Beverage Control Law.
Read the full New York Times story at: www.nytimes.com/2009/08/05/dining/05lice.html