As more New Yorkers are brown bagging lunches and making dinner at home, city restaurants have found a creative way to lure back customers. Recession specials. From the Soup Man’s $3.99 Bailout Package to the Beacon’s 60 Day Stimulus Plan, restaurants are offering deep discounts on their menus.
“People just want simple food, a simple meal, and $5 macaroni and cheese you can’t go wrong,” says Albert Fenza, head chef of SuperMac during a packed Wednesday dinner shift. He says that business is booming as SuperMac’s $5 mac n’ cheese special draws in customers who end up getting higher priced items. Fenza also added that many of his customers just want comfort foods, like mac n’ cheese, to ease the burden of the recession on both their minds and pockets.
Though recession specials are a way to boost business at less expensive restaurants, for fine dining eateries, it’s a way to survive. “Our drop has been manageable and we equate that to the special value propositions,” says Vadim Ponorovsky, owner of Paradou, a french restaurant in the Meatpacking District. Pedorofsky says specials like Paradou’s $35 5 course pre fixe dinner is saving his business, as it gives diners who are weary to spend money on luxurious dinners, a reason to try his cuisine. Pedorofsky also added, “there’s no way we can make a profit now, and it’s all about survival, and the recession deals really help.”
Many New Yorkers are taking advantage of the specials . “In this recession, I’ve had the chance to eat at some very high end places for some very reasonable prices,” said Lindsay Hausner, a self-proclaimed NYC ‘foodie.’ He says he frequents restaurants with specials as he doesn’t expect it to long once the economy is back on track. “We’ll be back on track and the really expensive restaurants will start charging very expensive prices for their meals again.”
Most economists however say that the recession isn’t going anywhere any time soon, which means that the recession deals may also be here for the forseeable future. Alfred Fenza insists that he’ll keep the $5 special and insists “it’s a good solid product that people are buying and that’s the outcome that we want,”