should miami spice change its concept?
i believe miami spice should change its format from specially designed 3 course meals for $23 at lunch and $36 at night to a standard 35% off the regular priced items on the regular menu so people could try the normal food a restaurant offers daily and not low budget offerings like 1/2 chicken,chilean salmon,churrasco.Over the years i have been consistently disappointed in the offerings restaurants post for their spice specials.I would love to hear from restaurant owners to see if a 35% discount would be economically viable.If you are trying to attract new customers to your restaurant,what better way than to serve the food you actually serve daily?Has anyone tried a spice menu that they thought was superior?What restaurant ,and what dish did you find superior instead of mediocre?
I can pretty much guarantee you that there is no decent restaurant that would participate if required to discount their entire menu by 35% or any other significant percentage, and I can also pretty much guarantee that there's no similar program in any other city which operates on that basis either. Particularly with increasing food costs and consequently thinner margins it is simply not a viable or sensible idea - nor do I see it as something necessary to serve the purpose, which is to bring customers in w/ a low-priced fixed menu in the slow summer season. There are plenty of churrascos, farmed salmon and chickens out there, but there are plenty of good Spice menus too (extensive discussion in other posts on this subject) and if you don't like it, every restuarant that participates is in fact serving the food that they actually serve daily - it's called their regular menu.
2top - I don't know of any tie-in between Spice and Zagat or any requirement that a restaurant be Zagat "approved" - there are plenty of participants this year that have no rating and are not even listed in Zagat (i.e. Barolo (?), Santo, Tamara (?)...).
I dont think that you could have a straight discount for Miami Spice. The margins just arent there for the restaurant. The current setup works well I think. Like others have said, you have to research. If you do your research and find menus upappealing, dont go to those places. I would rather see a reduced price Spice menu that excludes dessert.
There are a few problems with offering a flat discount, especially at something like 35%:
-- It would probably have to be offered to EVERYONE, so the restaurant will be leaving money on the table from customers who showed up there without knowing about Spice.
-- Many of these restaurant would be ghost towns in late July, if patrons knew that menu-wide discounts were around the corner.
-- Since a lot of people probably tip 15-20% of the final Spice tab (instead of the actual normal value of the meal) shaving 35% off the meal will also likely mean shaving 35% off the tip, so retaining wait help might be a challenge (even if they do make it up in volume).
-- Every restaurant is different, but larger chains spend between a quarter to a third of net sales on food costs alone. Cutting off 35% from the prices would mean that food costs alone would eat up nearly have of that. Restaurants can hook up with an Entertainment card or Restaurants.com to offer deeply discounted vouchers, but those are usually one-off deals. A restaurant would have a tought time using Spice as a loss leader.
I have to respectfully disagree on a couple of points:
- Even though there are few national chains participating in Spice, the only nationals that run even close to 33% food cost are high end steakhouses.
-I think that if you choose to participate in Spice, the menu should be offered to EVERYONE who comes into your restaurant anyway.
-Retaining waitstaff during the late summer has always been a challenge, but 15-20% of lower prices is better than 15-20% of lower guest count. Having a full dining room can definitely promote retention as well as prepare kitchen and service staff for the coming season.
-I don't think great restaurants have any desire to use Entertainment cards.
At Sardinia, the meatballs, sweeetbreads, lamb pasta, and branzino.
At Emeril's, the duck hash, swordfish, and berry bread pudding.
Azul, Setai, and Talulah this week so those should be no brainers as well.
Chowfather is right that you have to do your homework, but maybe some of the blame should go to the organizers at GMCVB. I understand how nice it is for them to publicize the higher and higher numbers of restaurants participating each year, but they are clearly not getting their mission through to enough participating places with
regard to serving food representative to their year long menus.
Let's face it, the only Spice menus getting favorable reviews are the ones we eat at all year round anyway. Why don't owners or chefs try to lure us in with a $36 dinner that impresses, and makes us customers throughout the year.
Didn't realize Zagat approval was necessary, but that's bogus too.
re: The Chowfather AKA sobe
I totally agree with doing the homework. Afterall, the restaurants post their menu on the site already, so it's not like you will go in a restaurant and be disappointed to see grilled salmon or teriyaki chicken.
When I went to Vix, the entree along costs $50 or so on the menu.
I would say a restaurant is free to offer whatever it wants and it's up to a smart foodie to find the excellent deals.