Restaurants and variable pricing / by kevin murray

The sporting world has embraced the fact that certain games against certain teams, such as the New York Yankees or Boston Red Sox, should demand a higher ticket price as opposed to games against the San Diego Padres or Florida Marlins.  In addition, since many people have workday commitments, the ticket pricing of weekend games should also be higher, of which, this has been implemented, with the overall result being beneficial for the baseball team's bottom line.  Quite frankly, sports are very good about proving discounted tickets for games and dates that are going to be in low demand, and have recalibrated so as to charge higher prices for tickets for games and dates that are going to be in high demand.


The American public as reported by spent in 2015 an "estimated $720 billion at restaurants," and though a significant amount of that expenditure was at fast-food restaurants, so too was a significant amount spent at table service restaurants of differing quality, popularity, and prestige.  Most of these restaurants, charge the same amount per menu item, seven days a week, regardless of whether that restaurant is busy or not; and while there are plenty of restaurants that offer coupons, or discounts, or other incentives to come into that restaurant, a lot of times, there isn't any restrictions on those coupons, or a lot of thought put behind those discounts.


In point of fact, some restaurants that cater to a business crowd are much busier during the workweek, whereas most restaurants are much busier on weekend nights, but the pricing of the menu items doesn't often reflect the fact that at times when a restaurant is busy, that they should seriously consider, amending their prices a bit higher in order to capture additional profits and to improve their gross margins.  In an era, in which, so much of what is priced, is digital in its design, and with so much analytics available for businesses to study in regards to weather, weekends, and special events, it is foolish not to at least consider amending a restaurant's pricing, depending upon how busy or not busy that particular restaurant is going to be.


While there is such a thing as price gouging, and restaurants do not want to ever get into a situation in which they alienate their customer base, the addition of a small incremental increase in prices on certain menu items, probably will not be met with much of a protest at all by consumers; in fact, many consumers might not even notice, or perhaps sort of notice, but not really register a complaint.  Further to the point, prices can be adjusted downward on slow days and nights, and consumers, especially those on a budget, will be more appreciative of that reduction in pricing.


It just seems silly for restaurants to have one-price that is the standard all of the time, when, in fact, most restaurants have peaked days and times, along with special situations, that increase their client base, of which, any good manager, should want to see this as an opportunity to bump up prices or reduce, as appropriate, their restaurant pricing so as to help maximize their business income, and failure to do so, indicates a failure to understand that a business owner needs to successfully seize a good opportunity when they see one.