“I Don’t Do Voucher Discount Programs”

Bogota Latin Bistro: New York's Best Colombian Restaurant

Bogota Latin Bistro

Yes, I am a restaurant owner and ‘No’, I have not participated in any voucher programs. I recently attended an event sponsored by Culintro here in New York City discussing voucher discount programs. I wanted to know if these programs worked for any of the panelists in attendance and what their view on them were. I left unconvinced that vouchers would be beneficial to my business.

As expressed by one of the panelists representing Tribeca Grill, I don’t feel like sharing a piece of my pie with anyone at the same time that I’m discounting my food and, in my estimation, cheapening my brand, in exchange for exposure when I feel the best exposure I can get is from doing all the right things right here within my walls.

I believe that these vouchers work well for start ups and possibly for new concepts but I’m already sitting on a restaurant that people have no problem patronizing and paying full price for in exchange for the great food, drinks and service we offer here. Bottom line: we offer a great value here as it is. We have an atypical restaurant: we defy the odds of most places. We could easily be busy (and often are) on Mondays and Tuesdays when most places have employees standing around doing nothing and going home with empty pockets. Do the right thing inside your walls, stay on top of what the competition is doing, treat your guests correctly, hire the best, train them, surprise and delight guests inside the restaurant through specials, freebies (we call them ‘promo’s”’), keep the place clean (especially the bathroom), reach out to them via Facebook and Twitter (as we often do), make them feel absolutely welcome when they walk in the door and absolutely appreciated as they walk out. Do this, among a host of other things (and I can assure that the MAJORITY of restaurants in NYC don’t do half the things I’ve mentioned here) and you’ won’t have to resort to voucher programs. Running a restaurant is hard work. It requires a huge investment of time, energy and money to stay ahead of the competition. If you can’t play with the big boys by doing all or most of the right things, then voucher programs might just be for you.

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