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Mar 23, 2013 10:34 AM

Is it discrimination?

I just received a 'free entree' coupon from Tony Roma's for my b'day but the restrictions say "dine in only". My wife has disabilities that prevent us from dining in any place. We always take out. I had the same problem with their Encino location when we lived there; discount coupons all have that restriction. I explained to the manager that the restriction was not fair and he actually agreed. If we did dine in we would order the same things so, what's the problem?

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  1. Makes no sense to me. I'm surprised that the manager didn't make an exception in your case.

    4 Replies
    1. re: pikawicca

      Because that's the start of a slippery slope: as someone else pointed out, most special offers are targeted to certain market subsets. As long as the business doesn't discriminate on legally protected factors they can do what they think will get them the most business in the long run. Maybe they're offering a loss-leader item "for free" in the hopes they'll make it up in appetizers/liquor/dessert sales.

      From the manager's point of view, once you start making exceptions for one customer you get more people demanding special treatment, and if you're operating on a slim margin that may make the difference between making payroll or not.

      1. re: pikawicca

        Sometimes, as hard as it is to hear, there are businesses who don't want certain people and their business.
        It's just life, as they say.

        1. re: pikawicca

          They didn't make an exception because there is no reason to. It's a free entree coupon that is basically sent as an incentive to get you to eat there, knowing you will like mostly likely not eat alone, but even if you do you will spend money one way or another. Order a drink, appetizer, dessert, to go with the "free" entree and also ( hopefully) tip the waitress.

          Businesses send out coupons with the idea that they will make more money in the long run.

          1. re: rasputina

            add to that, by bringing another person in, the second person may be new to the restaurant and recommend the food to a third or fourth person. the fact that the restaurant used a birthday as the time of offering the deal, suggests that they were hoping that a birthday party would be held at the restaurant, not that two meals would be packed up and taken home. their terms reflected the restaurant's goal. these deals are not offered to "gift" the recipient. they are offered to increase the restaurant's business/revenue.

            as a rule, the very best treatment i get in any restaurant occurs when i'm bringing in 2 or 3 NEW customers with me.

            even my stock brokerage firm and my gym offer incentives for bringing potential new clients/customers to them.

        2. Not fair, but I suppose the old "gift horse" saying applies.

          1. Because they want you in there buying beverages and desserts along with it. No discrimination.

            2 Replies
            1. re: mrbigshotno.1

              That's exactly the point - they are willing to give you the coupon for dining in because you will be ordering drinks, etc., to offset the cost of the 'free' entree. Takeout orders don't always have the add - on of a beverage, etc.

              Another point that's kind of the same is saying, the coupon is buy one - get one- but I can only eat one entree, so I should be able to use the coupon to get my meal at half price? Is it discrimination because I am not part of a couple?

              1. re: jeanmarieok

                +1 In this long thread, mrbigshotno.1 is about the only one who really summed it up. If you are not the customer who is going to dine in and (hopefully, per their logic) order drinks, tip the server, pay tax and get dessert, the coupon is not for you. They are rewarding those who spend a little more (dine-IN customers) with a coupon, not those who want to save pennies (takeout customers). That's why it's dine-in only. They are probably not getting much of a profit off of anyone using that coupon to begin with, and what little profit they have hoped to get by running it is completely negated if you let takeout people use it too.

            2. How is this discrimination just because your wife has special circumstances? It's not like they targeted her special needs directly. It worries me that labeling everything discrimination dilutes the term when real discrimination happens.

              1 Reply
              1. re: PegS

                By definition anything restrictive discriminates against those who don't qualify for whatever reason; doesn't have to be a disability. In this case the only qualification s/b the b'day.

              2. I would say it is discrimination -- but not by intentional. In other words, unintentional discrimination, and we see this happens a lot in everyday situation. A lot of practices are discriminatory by natural, such "Buy an entire cookware set and get another pan for free" -- this discriminates people who do not buy the set and likely including people who cannot afford to buy the set, so you can say it is bias for wealthier people and bias against poorer people. My local pubs have happy hours from 4:00 -7:00. It is discriminating against people who have to work later than 7:00 PM. Needless to say, a 30% special discount on a salmon dish is discriminating against people who is allergic to fish.

                I guess my point is that everytime there is a new policy -- someone gains and someone loses, therefore it is always discriminating a set of people, but they may not be the intentional targets.

                Pikawicca is correct. I hope the manager can find some compromises.

                11 Replies
                  1. re: westsidegal

                    "Why" for which particular part? <-- I wrote a few things.

                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                      the last statement.

                      the restaurant has already offered a special deal whereby they are offering a completely FREE meal under a certain very reasonable circumstance (that the meals be consumed in the restaurant).
                      why do you think the manager should find any additional give-aways or changes in terms here?
                      the deal being offered is terrific.
                      the terms of the deal are more than reasonable.
                      why should any more compromise be found?

                      1. re: westsidegal

                        <why do you think the manager should find any additional give-aways or changes in terms here?>

                        Certainly not additional give aways, but finding a middle ground. Like most suspected, this restaurant probably is doing this for advertisement and to make a bit money from drinks and desserts. So may be the managers can explain this to mucho, and said "Dude, I totally understand your situation, and I have explained to my regional manger. We like to accommodate your special needs if you are willing to order some drinks and some desserts along with your takes-out order..."

                        Mucho can get his free entree, and this restaurant can get its intended goals. This way everyone gets what they want.

                        I do this time to time to alternate deals with local restaurants and shops. For example, I went to a very famous kitchen knife shop in Vancouver Canada. I was hoping to get a very small discount, but the shop keeper expressed that the price is very reasonable, and I agreed. So at the end, we discussed a bit more, and I said. "I want to tell you that you make very good knives, and I am definitely going to buy one knife from you regardless. Now, if you can give me a small discount, I will buy three knives instead of one. You can give me whatever discount you are comfortable with" At the end, I think she gave me like a 4% discount, and I bought three knives. She gained some and I gained some.

                        PS.: the reason I want that small discount is that the online prices were actually slightly cheaper than the in store prices

                        <why should any more compromise be found?>

                        Because sometime everyone can win in a compromise. Sometime no, but sometime yes. We are not talking about the Jerusalem case where everyone wants exactly the same thing and therefore very little compromise can be made. Here, Mucho wants free entree, and the restaurant wants money from drinks and desserts. I see a potential compromise. Let's face it. The ultimate goal for the restaurant is not the "dine-in" part, so why not just cut to the chase?

                        I was not saying that the restaurant should or need to find a compromise. I was just saying that it would be nice, and I hope for a compromise where both parties can benefit.

                        1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                          Actually, dining-in can be very important to a restaurant aside from the monetary transaction. If a restaurant is normally deserted for midweek dinner, that can scare off other customers. That's why they seat the very first people near the window, so others can see the place is getting business. This will bring in a lot more money than a drink or two.

                          1. re: Steve

                            <If a restaurant is normally deserted for midweek dinner, that can scare off other customers.>

                            A very valid point, Steve. In which case, the restaurant may not able to work out a compromise with Mucho Gordon. Still, an explanation or two won't hurt. Sometime it is still nice to know why you are being rejected by restaurants or by women. :P

                            <That's why they seat the very first people near the window,>

                            I know. :P They do it to me many times.

                            1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                              I totally agree. I am all for making life easier for everyone and giving a little.

                              I was simply pointing out what I think id the main reason for the dine-in requirement, to fill the empty tables.

                          2. re: Chemicalkinetics

                            Opps. Toronto Canada -- just to set the record straight.

                    2. re: Chemicalkinetics

                      I don't see any of these examples as discrimination, to be honest.

                      If there is a half off sale on women's shoes at khols, I don't expect to get half off men's pants too just because I'm a guy.

                      1. re: Atomic76

                        yeah, but what if you only had one foot? Would it be discriminatory if you had to buy a l/r set to get the discount? Can you get 2 left shoes instead of a left and a right?

                        (this is me kidding, by the way)

                        1. re: cheesemonger

                          On a serious note -- I had a friend whose feet are vastly different sizes due to a congenital issue. Her feet work fine, but one is about 3 sizes bigger than the other.

                          She usually just stuffs one shoe with tissue paper, just because then she appears in public with equally-sized feet.

                          She sometimes has to buy two pairs of shoes (sneakers don't stuff all that well....), but she got lucky enough to find an exchange for people with similar issues (and people who only have one foot) -- they can trade the shoes they don't need.