Devin Dearing Preston: NYC writer, playwright, and storyteller

Nice try

August 15, 2009

With times being as they are, everywhere is doing everything they can to stir up more business. My restaurant is no exception. We are currently running three promotional menus. Yes, that’s right, three in addition to our seasonal menu. You can currently get a whole lobster with a side of potatoes for 29$. If you would have come in a year ago, that same lobster would have cost you 60$, no potatoes. We sell boneless Ribeyes for 24$ at lunch. That’s not advertised, but a great deal when you consider that a burger  at the same restaurant is 17$. Its what people are willing to pay. And we want people to come in to our restaurant, cause maybe we can get them on drinks once they sit down. Those are still ridiculously expensive. 

So these deals bring out a very special group of bargain shopping coupon clippers who otherwise would never have dreamed of eating at a “fancy” steakhouse. You can sadly tell who they are when they walk in the door. They always  look a little confused and uncomfortable, on guard. And their shopping carts usually gives them away. They know what you are up to, and they will not be had. They’ll have that soft drink with no ice, thank you. Or better yet, could you just bring them like ten to twelve lemons and some sugar for their free water. You name it, I’ve seen it. But this one guest takes the cake for trying to get her money’s worth.

On our menu we offer a steak caesar salad. It is served with the last 6 oz of filet that are left over after we butcher the whole filet. It isn’t pretty enough to charge 39$ for, but slice it up and put it on a salad, and nothing is wasted. We charge 26$ for the salad. Yes that’s a lot to pay for a salad, but it has filet on it and it is the least expensive entree on our menu.

Even with all the deals, including a 3 course meal for 35$, this guest has figured out a way to beat the system. She asks for the steak caesar salad, hold the salad part and sub a baked potato. “Ask your chef, I’m sure he’ll do it for me.” No, I’m sure he won’t because, all evidence to the contrary, he is actually in the business of making money. What she wanted was a filet (39$) and a baked potato (7$) for 26$. And the best part, is she thought we would let her do it.

Well, we could have done it, we would have just charged her an extra 20$ for the plate.

Categories: Waiting is the Hardest Part

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