Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Restaurant deals: Good idea, or risky business?

We just experienced a spate of restaurant week-style promotions around the Greater Capital Region. While on the surface promotions such as these as well as daily deals and other such offers may appear to be an automatic plus for restaurateurs, are they really?

Well, yes and no. While many restaurant operators gained new customers and made money on their daily deal offers, others lost money and found their regular customers taking advantage of the flash promotions, according to a new study published by Cornell University's Center for Hospitality Research.

The study, titled "Restaurant Daily Deals: The Operator Experience," is available here at no charge from the Center.

The researchers surveyed 273 restaurateurs who have offered daily deals. A solid majority of the responding restaurants were independent operators. The survey found that about 40% of the special-deal purchasers were new customers, and 35% of them returned to the restaurant without a further incentive. The number of operators who said they made money on the deal was about the same as those who lost money.

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