This weekend I ate at one of my favorite Italian restaurants in San Francisco, where the food is predictably good and the menu selection and prices haven't changed in the four years I've been eating there. As I skimmed the menu for the familiar descriptions of my two most loved dishes, I happened to notice that something was different.
Instead of just listing one usual price, two numbers appeared side-by-side under each entree option. My rigatoni melanzane was to cost either $16 or $11, but on all of my previous experiences it was simply $16. The only dishes offered at one price point were the nightly specials, but even the appetizers were available for a lower price. The smaller, cheaper portions are the restaurant's way of adapting to diners who want to eat out but can't afford to pay the old prices, and as an independent business it can be flexible in adapting to the economic climate. I think it's a fantastic solution to keep the business alive — there may be a new pricing scheme, but as always, every table was full.
Have you seen this concept in any of the restaurants you've been to lately?