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August 28, 2008

From Now On, It's Trust But Verify

You've got to hand it to Wine Spectator executive editor Thomas Matthews. First, his magazine gets caught red-handed giving an Award of Excellence to a restaurant that not only doesn't exist, but whose make-believe wine list features many of the lowest-scoring wines ever to be rated by Wine Spectator ("Smells like bug spray" concludes the review of one vintage; "Just too much paint thinner and nail varnish character," reads another). Then he made it worse by declaring that the magazine had somehow been the real victim in the story. "This was a mugging," Matthews told the New York Post. Even if it was, do you still want to spend $250 annually to be recognized by Wine Spectator?
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Menu Engineering: The Final Frontier

Think again if you're one of those operators who assumed you could drive revenue ever-higher thanks to careful placement of high-margin items and artful manipulation of price points on your menu. That strategy is dead in the water right now, as most of your free-spending customers have morphed into sharp-eyed bargain hunters. But crazy as it sounds, there is one trick left in the menu-engineering bag that might still work: simply remove the dollar symbol from your menu.
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