Mansfield selectmen discussed the possibility of a bring your own bottle policy in the town for non-licensed restaurants, and the preliminary talks look good.
“I certainly have been in restaurants where it's bring your own, and it worked out well,” said selectman Doug Aninno. “We have to make sure that the manager’s in place and responsible.”
All selectmen agreed that a policy would have to be in place to insure responsibility in any restaurant that does BYOB. While there was no consensus at Wednesday’s meeting, they agreed that TIPS training would be required for any server who even touches a wine bottle.
The plan may include the option for a corking fee, which would allow restaurants to profit from patrons bringing in wine.
Selectmen also raised the question of a responsibility for any BYOB establishment that allows a minor to consume alcohol. Town manager William Ross said that since each year a food-serving establishment has to renew their food license, selectmen would be able to deny them their renewal, effectively shutting them down and making the punitive measure more severe.
“If you do a bad job of it this year, you won’t get it next year,” said selectman chair Olivier Kozlowski. “We basically shut the restaurant down.”
Ross added that the food license requires inspections of the entire premises as well.
Additionally, for any such restaurant (under the possible policy selectmen discussed) would have to come before the board in order to allow said BYOB practices.
“It would be just a different version of the alcohol license,” said selectman Jess Aptowitz.
Ross said that the Massachusetts Alcohol Beverage Control Commission suggested that after the policy is established that the town puts a warrant in for a bylaw come May’s town meeting to solidify the provision.
Aninno said that such a policy is good for business, if there’s a market out there for it, corking fee or no corking fee. He said the problem arises in terms of responbility should any illegal activity occur.
“I want to have restrictions, but I want to see businesses succeed as well,” said Aptowitz.
The question of BYOB was brought up last month when Aunt Aleda’s Bakery requested that they allow BYOB, since the now-closed Mangia Bene had such a policy for about three years. Mangia Bene also charged a corking fee.