By now it’s no secret that restaurants all over the city are luring diners to the table by offering up ”recession special” prix-fixe menus. With the recession predicted to last through 2010, you can rest assured that more and more restaurants will be following suit. However, many big-name restaurateurs with fine-dining destinations loathe the idea of offering such specials fearing it sends a message of desperation. They oppose discounting for fear that consumers will undervalue the level of food and service provided. There’s also always the concern on the diner’s part that the food or service will suffer if the prices are lowered, aka the ‘Restaurant Week Effect.’ So in these tough times ‘big ego’ restaurants (you know, the ones that would rather tell you that they do not have a table for 2 at 8pm on a Friday night than appear to be struggling) must walk a fine line in strategizing to keep their tables filled, but without losing their swagger in the process. Jean-Georges
put aside his hubris in becoming the first of the big name restaurateurs to offer up $24 lunch and $35 dinner recession specials
at his NYC restaurants. I think in doing so he is building customer loyalty and good-will. When this economy turns around, I for one will be patroniozing the restaurants that showed compassion and generosity during the tough times. Learn a new strategy being employed by some of the city’s top dining destinations after the jump…
We have come upon what appears to be a new strategy employed by some restaurateurs who want to lure diners without sounding desperate for business: disguise the Recession Special as an Anniversary Special. Take the famed and highly-acclaimed Four Seasons Restaurant for instance. To celebrate 1959, the year the Four Seasons opened its doors, the restaurant is offering a $59 three-course prix-fixe menu throughout 2009 for lunch and dinner in the Pool Room, featuring lobster and black truffle risotto, shrimp and their famous farmhouse duck. We just learned yesterday that Restaurant Daniel is offering from now through March 2009 a 15th Anniversary Celebration Menu. This $98 three-course prix-fixe menu comes with wine pairings. The only catch is that it is only offered Monday through Thursday from 5:30-6:30pm. These sound like recession specials in anniversary menu clothing to me. Typically, restaurants only offer aniversary menus on a one-night or one weekend basis, while these are being offered over a course of months. And c’mon, who’s really doing any celebrating these days?
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