Restaurants Are Taking A Tip From Uber And Testing ‘Surge’ Pricing

01.23.18 1 year ago 3 Comments


Uber often raises some eyebrows with steep “surge” pricing receipts. We’ve all seen them pop up on social media and breathed a sigh of relief that we weren’t the ones on the receiving end of a $1,000 charge for a trip home. Well, restaurants are starting to dabble in Uber’s policy of surge pricing by offering discounted menus that’ll reward you for trafficking their establishments during off-peak hours and charge you more — that is, a surge price — for wanting to dine at peak times.

The Chicago Tribune reported that the idea is taking off in London at a joint called Bob Bob Robert. They’ve reworked their pricing to give diners the option to come in at different times of day and night and get menus prices that are 15 to 25 percent less than the full menu price. The restaurant laid out on their website a schedule of when they have their off-peak and mid-peak pricing available, along with menus displaying those prices.

Basically, Mondays are completely off peak — which are always slow restaurant days (which is why so many shutter on Mondays). Still, 25 percents off the bill for dining out on a Monday instead of Wednesday through Saturday is pretty enticing.

Of course, this isn’t that new of a revelation. Airlines, hotels, and car rental agencies all use surge pricing to milk revenue. It has worked in those industries for decades. Also, let’s not forget that this is basically just rebranding “happy hours” and “early bird specials” for the hashtag generation.

The question then falls to whether or not diners will start changing their habits enough to really crib the system to their advantage. Is there a future where Monday nights are the night to go out? Are Tuesday lunches going to be the new Sunday brunch? Maybe.

But if the airline and hotel industry is any indication… probably not. For the most part, people like to do fun stuff when they want to do it. Melding to the restaurant’s schedule will surely work for some, but it’s not likely to revolutionize the game.

(Via the Chicago Tribune)

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