The results of the latest PLCB auction of restaurant licenses were announced yesterday and, to no one’s real surprise, the prices for licenses remained high on average around the state. As expected, many of the licenses were purchased by grocery stores or convenience stores. LNP obtained information about the bids on the license that was auctioned for use in Lancaster County. For that license, the only bidders were Turkey Hill, Rutter’s, Sheetz, Giant Food Stores, and Weis Markets. Every bid was in excess of $300,000, with the winning bid coming from Turkey Hill for a sale price of $407,600.00.
As I’ve noted previously, with the present competition for restaurant liquor licenses coming from grocery stores and convenience stores, it leaves the true restaurateur priced out of the market. It is becoming increasingly difficult to find a license that is available for sale and, even if a license is found, the current prices place an unrealistic burden on an individual who is trying to get started in the business. Frankly, even established restaurants who would like to add alcohol service to their business or open a new location with a liquor license have difficulty justifying the expense. Unless the legislature steps in and changes the current system, this problem is likely to get worse before it gets better.