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January 16, 2018

Restaurant tests novel pricing tiers to even out the week


Restaurant tests novel pricing tiers to even out the week

One of London’s leading restaurants is pioneering a new pricing model based on the travel…


One of London’s leading restaurants is pioneering a new pricing model based on the travel industry, with different charges depending on the day of the week and time of diners’ are booking.

Bob Bob Ricard, known for a luxurious dining room where each table has a call button for champagne, will offer exactly the same menu, only prices will be 25 percent lower for off-peak times such as Monday lunch and 10 percent off middle-peak times, including dinner on Tuesdays and Sundays. Bookings for Saturday night are full price.

“The idea just came from looking at how the rest of the world functions,” said owner and founder Leonid Shutov. “Airlines wouldn’t be able to exist, the business model wouldn’t work unless you could balance supply and demand. Everything that we have taken that is widely accepted in the modern economy and applied to restaurants, seems to have worked.”

The new pricing model means that for lobster macaroni and cheese, a customer may pay $27.70 at an off-peak time instead of the full-price, $35.86. For Russian Oscietra caviar, 20 grams could cost $48.71 off-peak, instead of $66.30.

Other restaurants are watching closely.

“We have talked about this a lot of times over the past 20 years, thinking why aren’t we like airlines or hotels?” said Des Gunewardena, chairman and chief executive of D&D London. We’ve never done it because we have worried our customers might think it is a bit gimmicky.”

Shutov said the average spending per customer at Bob Bob Ricard is $135 per person, and few go there for inexpensive fixed-price lunches. But there is a large disparity in the numbers of customers throughout the week. There might be 400 diners and a waiting list for tables on a Saturday night but only 40 for lunch on a Monday.

“To stay competitive, we need to be able to serve people a fantastic lunch without charging ridiculous prices,” Shutov said. “And one of the ways of doing that is ensuring a more even occupancy throughout the week so that we are not subsidizing our Monday lunch with a Saturday dinner.”

Shutov’s background is in the advertising industry in his native Russia, and he’s taken new ideas to the London restaurant industry since opening Bob Bob Ricard nine years ago. Every table is a booth, the champagne buttons are a hit, and he limits the margins on wine prices. For a while, he included wine-price comparisons on the list, a measure that was unpopular with rival restaurateurs.

“It’s what we learn in economics 101, it calls for price differentiation. I do realize it’s a bit of a brave decision because any departure from the standard model involves risk. But I am not really worried. We are not changing the menu. We are not trying to entice customers with anything from what they know and love. We are just saying that on certain days it will cost less.”

SundayMonday Business on 01/14/2018


Source: Restaurant tests novel pricing tiers to even out the week

Restaurant tests novel pricing tiers to even out the week


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