Marco Pierre White: Restaurant Deals Attract the 'Wrong Type of Client'
Marco Pierre White believes that restaurateurs who turn to deals and special offers potentially do more harm than good. The Telegraph UK relays this quote:
It's a weakness. You are attracting the wrong type of client. People come to your restaurant because they are going to save three quid, not because of your food. You have to stick with your loyal client base. They are the ones who will keep your business going.
In a way, he's got a point — all these deals and specials can cheapen the image of a restaurant, and will certainly attract the deal-seekers, the restaurant-week types that bring their own tea bags and ask for hot water. It won't generate repeat business in any real way.
But he's being a little unrealistic — people are cutting back by not dining out, and restaurateurs need to fill empty seats. Along with the deal-seekers, it will also attract clientele who might have wanted to visit the restaurant but found it, for whatever reason, out of reach. Sometimes all it takes to create a loyal client is one gimmicky prix fixe.
The real heart of it, though, is that if deals and specials get people through the door, especially during difficult times like lunch or on weeknights, why the hell not? Give people a deal, or at least give the illusion of one, and they might end up spending more money on things like wine (which has a huge markup).
And maybe the loyal client base he speaks of could use a price break anyway, since they're probably hurting, too.