Thursday 31 July 2014

Meal Deals, BOGOF %off etc

This morning I answered a phone call to the restaurant. The lady enquired what special offers we had at the moment. I replied that there were none and started to explain our approach to ‘deals’ when the phone when dead.

It never ceases to amaze me how people are so easily conned into buying things because of a perceived  ‘deal’, Special Offer etc. This has become so ingrained and widespread that even honest suppliers feel obliged to follow or otherwise lose market share.

Virtually every business is there to make a profit and support their owners and employees families. They are NOT Charities. Restaurants in particular are very competitive and involve considerable hard work; there is little opportunity for vast profits and an easy life.  Giving out discounts will therefore have one of the following consequences:

·        Quality and size will have to be lowered to match the discounted price,
·         Some customers will have to be charged more to pay for those charged less,
·         Profits are cut so the restaurant becomes unviable and closes.

Cutting quality has become widespread during the recession. Two for One ‘deals’ or their variations abound. In reality you are not getting, for example, a £12 meal plus one for free, you are getting two £6 meals – much lower quality than the headline advertisement. I have found this with supermarket wine. I have been tempted to by a £12 bottle of wine at half price (more than once I am ashamed to say). After tasting them – I would have rated them £5 bottles of wine – poor value at £6 cost and a total rip off at the £12 claimed price.

This leaves us with a dilemma at Thai Lanna – we are passionate about our food quality and definitely don’t want to move into the area of other quality restaurants – a large plate with a tiny splodge of prettily arranged food in the middle – leaving you hungry after its finished. We are also proud of our policy of fairness and won’t charge some more to pay for others. Our profits have been sufficient to keep us in business for 13 years but not enough to allow us to live extravagant lifestyles or retire. The recession was very hard for us and had it persisted we may well have closed.

Our only way forward relies on the majority of our customers appreciating the quality and value we offer and continue to dine with us. There will be no 2 for 1 ‘deal’s at Thai Lanna as it goes against the principles we are passionate about and make us successful. Taking this a step further – perhaps meal deals are an indication of an unsuccessful restaurant, desperate for business!

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