Article: “How to increase your prices” (Aug.2006)

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excerpt:
“The thought of price increases causes anxiety for many operators. But clever pricing is a great opportunity to practise your marketing skills, build your reputation and increase your profits.

When inflation was high, price rises were almost a sport – now they’ve become an agonising debate. One thing’s for sure – you live by price and you die by price. Operators still holding the price of meals to what they were 12 months ago are bearing the brunt of massive increases in the cost of fuel and ingredients. Profitability is suffering.

So how do you put up prices with confidence and style?”

source: “How to increase your prices” (ProfitableHospitality.com, Aug.2006) [public access til Aug.19th]

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Article: “The $1 ’straight up’ charge has drinkers all stirred up” (Jul.2006)

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excerpt:
“But $1 extra because you don’t want ice in your martini? Frank Sinatra is rolling over in his grave.

This unexpected charge recently was noted by William Dowd, associate editor of the Times-Union in Albany, N.Y. Though rare, it has been spotted at bars and restaurants across the country.

Dowd got dinged on a recent evening at the Water’s Edge Lighthouse in Glenville, N.Y., after ordering martinis at the start and end of the evening. “When I got the itemized bill, it said ‘Two Grey Goose martinis: $18’ and then later on ‘Two Grey Goose martinis: $20.’ ”

The waitress happily explained that she had simply forgotten to add the ‘up charge’ to the first set of drinks. He had ordered the drinks “up” and not on the rocks.”

source: “The $1 ‘straight up’ charge has drinkers all stirred up” by Elizabeth Weise (USA Today, 7/28/06)

Article: “Trying Out Top Restaurants but Without the Usual Fuss” (Jul.2006)

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excerpt:
“You don’t buy a car without taking it for a spin, a pair of pants without testing the fit. But when it comes to a meal in a fancy restaurant, which can cost a lot more than slacks, you have to commit to many bites, minutes and dollars without any advance taste of how well it will suit you.

Except, that is, when you don’t.

…In the lounge a visitor can get a snapshot of what a chef can do and what a restaurant can be without having to pledge fidelity to the tune of two and a half hours and $200.”

source: “Trying Out Top Restaurants but Without the Usual Fuss” by Frank Bruni (New York Times, Jul.12,2006)

Article: “Restaurateurs’ diet now includes fuel surcharges” (Jul.2006)

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excerpt:
“Jeff Raider knew it was time for a change when he noticed the shipping costs on the vegetables, seafood and other tasty foodstuffs that arrived at his restaurant were often higher than the costs of the products themselves.

Raider, the executive chef at the Valley Restaurant at the Garrison, decided he needed to seek out other sources of product, instead of taking shipments from all over the country. The restaurant now depends more on purveyors from New York City and the surrounding areas.

In return for the steady stream of business, those suppliers agree not to tack shipping charges onto his costs, Raider said.

The near-record cost of gasoline and diesel fuel may be the last thing on the mind of a restaurant patron cutting into a juicy steak or cracking open the shell of a scrumptious lobster. But those high fuel prices are putting pressure on restaurateurs in at least one way and possibly two.”

source: “Restaurateurs’ diet now includes fuel surcharges” by Allan Drury (The Journal News, Jul.7,2006)

Article: “The bad aftertaste of dining out” (Jun.2006)

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excerpt:
“Calls continue to come in re garding customer concerns and complaints over common dining challenges. Challenge is polite lan guage for a whole parcel of often appal ling and outra geous situa tions.

Because there’s usually some measure of “he said, she said,” some of these calls and e-mails are edited. The concerns still stand – and so, I hope, do my observations.

Loud, noisy restaurants

Why do restaurant owners equate dining, both fine and moderate, with frenzied? We frequently feel as though we are sitting inside a steel drum that is being played on our heads…”

source: “The bad aftertaste of dining out” by Joe Crea (The Plain Dealer, Jun.28,2006)

Article: “New East Side restaurant to flaunt worst table” (June 2006)

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excerpt:
"Restaurants typically have at least one "worst" dining table location, but they try not to draw attention to it.

Kathy and Tery Schmidt plan to have fun with their new restaurant's "worst table" when they open 900 East – The Restaurant The Bar at 900 Tutor Lane on Evansville's East Side sometime between mid-July and early August.

The Schmidts will offer a 10 percent discount to the diner who accepts the restaurant's worst table, which will be located right next to the kitchen door and just around the corner from the restrooms."

source: "New East Side restaurant to flaunt worst table" by Carol Wersich (Courier & Press, Jun. 3, 2006)

This is a great way to take a negative aspect of a restaurant, and turn it into an opportunity for positive publicity and marketing. The restaurant is seen with more integrity by acknowledging the table's situation.

Article: “Study: “Price Endings Have Psychological Effect on Restaurant Customers” (May 2001)

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excerpt:
"This isn't a decision-making tool that's based on economics," said Parsa, associate professor of hospitality management in the College of Human Ecology. "It's more psychological. If you are in the high end of the market, you want to maintain the image of quality.

When reviewing the responses, the researchers found that participants tended to choose "0" price endings when choosing for high quality, and tended to avoid "0" endings when choosing for high value.

The research shows a synergy between consumers' expectations when they see the price of an item, and the image that restaurants hope to project, Parsa said."

source: "Study: "Price Endings Have Psychological Effect on Restaurant Customers" by Martha Filipic (Ohio State Univ., May 15,2001)

research paper: "Menu Price Endings That Communicate Value and Quality" by Naipaul, Sandra; Parsa, H. G. (Cornell Hotel & Restaurant Administration Quarterly, Feb. 2001)

This may already be common knowledge among restaurant professionals, however it is always beneficial to know the source, science, and research behind the practice.