Regulation of the Day 52: Bar Food

This one comes courtesy of Jacob Grier, blogger extraordinaire and former colleague.

In Arlington County, Virginia, there exist twelve restaurants that are required to sell $350 of food per gallon of liquor sold.

Isn’t that weird?

Stranger still, this gang of twelve voluntarily opted in to that bizarre requirement. They think it works better than what all other Arlington restaurateurs have to deal with – sales must be no less than 45% food, and no more than 55% liquor.

Again, what a strange regulation.

The reason for the switch from a dollar to a volume ratio is that Arlingtonians are developing a taste for more sophisticated – and more expensive – cocktails. Restaurants are finding themselves pushing up against that 55% barrier even without serving more drinks.

Jacob, who has thought about opening his own establishment, adds:

“this kind of regulation is one reason among many that I can’t imagine ever opening a bar in Virginia. It would be much smarter to eliminate ratios entirely and simply require that food is available to patrons who want it.”

Way to encourage entrepreneurship, Virginia.