In these difficult economic times restaurant vouchers abound, but despite being popular with customers are they actually good for business?
Yes it is true that offering discount vouchers may drive more custom towards a restaurant, but in doing so is it cheapening the experience?
Once customers have sampled the food and the service at a cut price their reaction can go one of two ways – either they are so impressed that come back again, or they decide that they are only prepared to dine out at your establishment when it is part of a voucher deal. When the Mystery Dining Company looked into vouchers around Christmas time its director, Sally Whelan, said: “Cheap meals and an experience that offers value for money are two very different things.
“If your promotion is not executed well, a discount offer actually has the potential to undermine a restaurant’s reputation with loyal customers and leave a damaging first impression with new ones, which will have a long term impact on the business.”
It is important that restaurants do not look to recoup the profit they have not made on meals in other areas, such as drinks which makes customers feel as if they have been ripped off. Despite people looking to cut costs, a more expensive restaurant which does not offer discount vouchers sends out the message that it is worth paying for.
This means that customers will attach a higher value to it and perhaps only go on special occasions, but when they do they will pay full price. Any restaurant which is considering introducing vouchers should take the decision very carefully as it is a difficult one to come back from.
After all would you pay £12 for a main meal which you paid £6 for the previous week? No, neither would we.