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Cuisine 3 etoiles de Jacques Lameloise

Cuisine 3 etoiles de Jacques Lameloise (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In October 2013, Irish Michelin star chef Derry Clarke had a go at Dublin restaurants selling “cheap meals” – see here. I guess Clarke was thinking from his own view when he said “the number of restaurants offering meal deals at economically non-viable prices just isn’t sustainable, it’s the same cost in McDonalds, but we have all of the overheads”.

He may have a point about the number of restaurants being sustainable, but Derry, stick to the cooking. Any management accountant could figure out that even if meals are sold cheap (and I doubt they are below cost as Clarke suggests), they still make a contribution towards overhead costs. It would be better to have 50 guests in a restaurant earning a contribution of £5 a head (£250 in total) than having an empty restaurant. In the latter case, costs such as labour, heating, rent and so on are still incurred.

I may be wrong, but I would say that for many average-type restaurants, getting more guests in is crucial to survival in these recessionary time. Perhaps higher margins can be made at weekends, or at later evening sittings. But these cheap deals increase contribution – and of course many customer may return in the future ,

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