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The beauty of “name your own price” restaurants

From a restaurant owners perspective, I mean.

It’s a couple of months now since there was the media coverage of the “name your price” restaurants – first in London and then in Kerry.

While this type of deal was obviously great for publicity for the restaurants concerned, I’m not sure that it’s something that consumers should be hoping to see more of. The big tipoff on that is the comment from the owner of the Kerry restaurant in the Irish Times article above:

Gleeson says there is only one case where he was paid way under what a meal would have cost, when he was offered €37 for a three-course meal for two, which should have cost €54.

And why would that be? We can see today with the many offers being provided by most restaurants in Dublin that we’ve been savagely overcharged for restaurant food during the days of the Celtic Tiger. Or let me put it another way, for the food and service we were receiving in many restaurants, we weren’t getting value for the money we were being asked for.

But those prices were all we knew, apart from the cheap and cheerful restaurants we encountered on our holidays that we were always told couldn’t be used as a price comparison benchmark because of their lower operating costs.

One thing we should remember these days is that the operating costs of restaurants are falling at the moment – yet they try to make us think they’re doing us a favour by dropping their prices.

Since we only know the higher prices charged in Ireland, and knowing in the back of our minds that we probably couldn’t get away with paying the ridiculously low prices we know are possible elsewhere, we pay something that is less than we think we’d be charged, but which turns out to be sometimes more – or at least still enough, for the restaurant to make a handsome profit.

Similar to Pavlovs dog, our arrival in restaurants, even where we can chose our own price, means that we’re conditioned to expect to have to fork out large amounts of money.

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