No restaurants are more laid back than those remote non-touristy ones in Italy. You get a table, it is yours until they close for the night. I remember pleading with the waiter at 1130PM for the check.
Me: Signore, il conto por fovore (delivered really badly)
Waiter: il conto domani!
- Increase the number of times the table turns over
- Increase the spend per table
One restaurant in New York is trying to do just that with prix fixe menu.
Is that the path for revenue optimization?
It is not for two reasons. One it leaves out those customers who can still be profitably served and two it leaves out up-sell opportunity. Not only do different customers have different willingness to pay, even the same customer has different willingness to pay based on purchasing occasion.
We will never know how many potential diners avoided us because of the prix fixe, or how many were displeased but too civilized or bashful to say something. All in all, check averages increased and traffic remained steady.
It is better for a restaurant to settle for lower revenue from a table as long as it is higher than the opportunity cost. For example, it is profitable to serve a customer who spends $30 if there is a 50% chance the table will remain unoccupied and 50% chance of seating a $55 customer.
- It can if it is offered alongside a la carte option so it is not the only option and customers self-select.
- On specific occasions when they are capacity limited and want only those with high willingness to pay to visit (e.g., Valentine Day dinner and New Year Dinner at special high prices).
Otherwise I do not recommend prix fixe menu because even for restaurants, if one price is good, two are better.