From serving spiced-up burgers to offering cheaper premium steaks, restaurants are trying every trick in the book to bolster sluggish sales. Some, seeing little improvement, have turned to a strategy that was perhaps once unimaginable: haggling.
A reporter from the New York Post, who felt there was nothing to lose and only some to gain through negotiating, decided to put her theory to the test by bargaining at various Manhattan stores. The result of her experiment? She saved nearly $35 in one day by bartering at stores, including coffee shops, neighborhood restaurants, wine merchants, and even casual lunch chains. At Starbucks, a barista slashed 25 percent off the cost of a caramel macchiato "without batting an eye." When the reporter told a manager at sandwich and salad chain Cosí that she was trying to save money, she got a 10 percent discount. A local café was willing to give her a 20 percent "starving artists discount" off of a $50 table.
I'm a little dumbstruck, as America really doesn't embrace haggling. I haven't bargained for anything — let alone food — since my last trip to a foreign country. But, for the food service industry, could the best way to see change at the register be with flexibility in price? What do you think? Is bargaining something you've ever tried at a restaurant? If not, then given the current economic climate, would it be something you'd be willing to consider?