When the economy falters, consumers naturally tighten their belts. They drive fewer miles, make smaller purchases, and
When the economy falters, consumers naturally tighten their belts. They drive fewer miles, make smaller purchases, and eat out less often. None of this is good news for the restaurant industry, which serves more than 70 billion meals each year and employs more than 13 million workers. But restaurant owners and marketers are familiar with the concept of making lemonade when handed lemons. So, when times are tough, many come up with ways to attract diners to their tables.
Food costs might be high, but instead of raising prices, some restaurant owners adjust their menus. Filet mignon is replaced by less expensive cuts of meat-and the savings can then be passed along to consumers. At the 200 East in Chicago, house specials on pork and chicken-instead of veal and beef-have become the new norm. Offering promotions such as a three-course meal for $29, free beverages, or early-bird specials has become more popular for many restaurants. "I see how people are these days," says Carmine Marzano, owner of Luigino in Washington, D.C. "They are saving pennies everywhere they can. I try to be good to them, and hopefully they will be good to me and come back again."
1. In addition to those described, discuss other pricing promotions restaurants might offer to attract customers.
2. How do you think the price-quality relationship affects the restaurant industry?