I live in L.A. and grew up in St. Louis, where I visited this past week. I keep in touch with the hometown restaurant scene on the "Great Plains" board, the websites for local publications, and signing up for notices from individual restaurants.
A longtime St. Louis favorite, Harvest, advertises a special "3 for $30" deal on Tuesday and Thursday nights on its website -- an entree (most of their entrees are mid-$20s or approaching $30) and two other courses (apps, salads, desserts -- which hover between $7 and $10, the three more expensive starters require a supplement) for $30. Good deal for a very nice restaurant. So I had my mom make reservations for a Thursday evening when I arrived in town.
Here's the issue: The "3 for $30" offer is nowhere on the menu. It wasn't a problem for us -- I asked for it and it was provided. But I paid particular attention to the neighboring table -- they ordered entrees (fish, approaching $30 by itself) and one or two starters for a table of three, and the server never mentioned the deal. Is this cool?
Would it have been out of line for me to interject, politely, "You may not be aware, but they offer a "3 for $30" deal on Tuesdays and Thursdays where your starters and desserts would almost be free"?
I guess my position is clear: If you are going to offer a special, you should make sure all of your customers know about it. I'd feel stupid and a bit taken if I realized I'd paid mid-$40s for a dinner I could have had for $30.
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