Harrogate restaurateur Paul Rawlinson (pictured) is to push on with plans to offer dynamic pricing after a successful trial that saw Tuesday become the most successful midweek service.
The owner of Norse restaurant had been experimenting with dynamic pricing for six weeks, offering a percentage off each day of the week except Saturday, with 25% off on Tuesdays to 10% on Fridays.
After experiencing some success, Rawlinson has now implemented the Tock ticketed reservation system, developed by Alinea Group co-owner Nick Kokonas, to permit a more sophisticated and responsive method of dynamic pricing.
Two menus will be available to guests – either four or eight courses – and prices will vary according to the time and day of dining.
Rawlinson said: “We’ll be costing the menus on the full pricetag and accept that we take a haircut on margin in the week, but it’s better to have people in the restaurant and be busy. It’ll be exactly the same menu whether it’s Tuesday or Saturday.
“I can change prices on demand. So if Thursday’s are popular I can change the price and perhaps drop prices on Tuesday if it’s quiet. Sometimes it’ll be time based, sometimes it’ll be day based, sometimes it’ll be demand based.”
Rawlinson said that he hoped the move would widen the appeal of the restaurant by offering greater value to those that wished to eat at less popular times.
He added: “We stand by the meal at full price as being good value, but we’re offering extra value for those who want to eat midweek.
“People are used to this kind of pricing now. We’re likening it buying an advanced train ticket. Hopefully some people that would more naturally go to a big chain might consider us instead. We’ll be mixing it in a similar price point to some of them.”
Kokonas explained the Tock system had been developed to solve the problem of no shows at Alinea while offering value to those prepared to eat at previously unattractive times.
“I did not set out to build a company, I just wanted to provide better hospitality to our patrons, at a lower price when possible, with higher quality,” he said.
“So a crazy idea – selling tickets to a restaurant – has evolved into something more sophisticated and yet more simple at the same time. And the tickets have given way to a series of solutions to help small businesses provide great service to the diners they love.”
Norse currently offers four courses for £25 at 6pm on weekdays, £30 at 7pm, and £35 at 8pm. For the eight course menu it’s £60 full-price at the weekend, but if diners book for midweek it goes go down to £45 or £50 depending on when they eat.
Rawlinson said: “We’ll release tickets three months in advance so we might consider reducing the price for earlier booking too. It’s all functionality we can use within Tock.
“So I can basically price the menus as I want, any time any day. That’s all on a ticket basis so it’s pay up front. It’s the only way to do it with different price points.”
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