Dine About Town (SF Case Study) - scam?
My cousin is an investment banker and was bored. He made a quick analysis of the recent San Francisco Dine About Town (3 for $35 in San Francisco) for a Cassis restaurant.
His results from their sample menu on the site show that it is more beneficial to order the exact same items separately.
menu on their website:
findings (pdf format):
1. I posted this here on the Seattle board as a reminder to myself and the rest of us to remember to not get bought into marketing hype blindly. It's definitely another way of looking at things.
2. I'm pretty sure most restaurants are not intentionally trying to scam their customers.
3. My cousin has too much time and needs to get back to work.
I hope you guys find this interesting.
Cassis is probably on the cheaper side normally as DAT participants go though. The fixed pricing makes things kind of a dilemma for restaurants around that price point - you can either participate and accept the same DAT pricing as everyone else and risk being a bit of a ripoff compared to your usual offerings, or you can opt out of DAT altogether and likely suffer an overall drop in business as everyone flocks to the places in DAT.
Or you can offer premium dishes that aren't on the regular menu or are the most expensive things on the regular menu.
But yes, every time DAT rolls around there's a lot of discussion about which places are worth trying for DAT and which are not. The reports on the board going back years paint a pretty good picture of what the good and bad DAT choices are. The main thing is to do your homework by reviewing both the regular menu and the DAT menu before you choose a restaurant.
Funny you should post this. I dined at Cassis during DAT last year and after ordering the DAT options, thought about it when I went home, looked up the Cassis menu and realized I could have ordered the exact same meal off the regular menu for a coulple of bucks cheaper. I have to say it kind of irritated me though I have dined at Cassis a few times since.
I wouldn't call Dine About Town a "scam", although for many restaurants, Dine About Town is not much of deal. At many of the restaurants, it seems that the appetizer/entree/dessert can be ordered a la carte for about the same price. Some places also have regular prix fixe specials that are the same price or less. Alternatively, at other restaurants, the offered DAT entrees are significantly different from the entrees on their regular menu. At best, the savings amount to a free dessert or appetizer. I find DAT to be less and less exciting each year, though I think lunch can still be worth it.