Pricing Perception Problem

Apr 1

Several times of late we have heard from people that they have always been afraid to dine with us because they were afraid of the price. It seems that because we do a fixed price menu and people only see that one price we have a pricing perception problem. I would like to address this issue because if that’s what is keeping folks from dining with us, I want to assure them that we are actually a great value.

I did a little “shopping” and price comparisons of comparable restaurants in our area. My goal here is not to suggest that those places are not great places to dine or a great value, because I happen to be the person who will spend my entire paycheck on a meal. I love to eat and I see no better use of my hard earned money than to spend it on a great meal. And I have in the past, and will continue doing so in the future, frequented these other establishments myself. But I digress. I just want to point out what the actual cost of dining is if you take into consideration everything that is included in our fixed price. For each restaurant I calculated the average of their prices in each category: Appetizer, Soup/Salad, Entree with Side Dishes, Dessert, Iced Tea and Coffee. I’ll supply those average prices and then the grand total for comparison sake.

 

Restaurant A:

Appetizer: $8

Soup/Salad: $6

Entree: $15

Dessert: $6

Iced Tea: $2

Coffee: $2

Total: $39

 

Restaurant B:

Appetizer: $20

Soup/Salad: $8

Entree: $18

Dessert: $10

Iced Tea: $3

Coffee: $3

Total: $52

 

Restaurant C:

Appetizer: $8

Soup/Salad: $12

Entree: $22

Dessert: $10

Iced Tea: $2.50

Coffee: $3

Total: $57.50

 

Some of these restaurants will provide bread for free, some do not. All have good service and a couple do in fact use some locally sourced food. Some provide free refills on beverages, others do not. Again, I’m mindful that folks may not do all four courses, but when people go out, they will typically do at least three and a beverage.

Here is what we include in the cost of a meal at CSI for $32.95 or $34.95 (Beef entree): **Note: When we do special events we may charge more for that specific menu, but they usually involve 6 courses or more.

Home baked bread or rolls (Unlimited)

Appetizer or Soup

Soup or Salad

Entree with side dishes

Dessert

UNLIMITED non-alcoholic beverages with the exception of sodas which are just 50 cents each. This includes coffee, tea, iced tea, juice, milk, hot chocolate. Whatever you want, as much as you want.

Each dish is prepared from scratch, by me, using the freshest locally sourced ingredients I can get, seasonality permitting. I NEVER use pre-packaged or pre-processed soups, sauces or desserts. I only use organic, cage free, locally grown eggs, and where possible, organic dairy and vegetables. My portions are quite sizable, although I will concede that my protein sizes tend to be in the 6-8 oz size and not larger. I prefer to serve a quality piece of meat in sensible, healthy portions, and to spend more on the ingredients. Most people can’t finish everything they get and take some home. Those who do finish are always quite satiated.

Hopefully that clarifies a little about how we do things here and maybe makes the price appear a little more like the value we believe it is. Ultimately my food isn’t just about calories. It’s about creativity, education, telling a story and providing people with a dining experience. I perceive that to be it’s greatest value.

Typical 4 course meal

Here is a typical 4 course meal here at CSI sans the bread and beverages.

3 Responses

  1. Jessica Crosmun says:

    We were shocked at how cheaply you price your menus! Ordering a la carte in a restaurant you’d easily be paying $50+ for the four courses you provide and it wouldn’t be locally/sustainably sourced ingredients. You should increase your prices 🙂

  2. Kathryn Gillespie says:

    The most important difference….the “priceless” part of dining at CSI–the peaceful atmosphere and individualized service that truly says Monika and Jeff are totally invested in making the experience more than a meal.

  3. Janet Jackson says:

    Your meals have always been extremely reasonable. Add in the fact that I don’t have to worry about food allergies and the meal is priceless!

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