Charging more for dinner entrees (same portion)

Joined May 30, 2015
What are your opinions on restaurants charging more for dinner entrees of equal portion to lunch entrees? Why would a restaurant go this route from an operational stand-point? I don't see it frequently around here, but I was browsing the online menu of a restaurant I was considering eating at and noticed that the dinner and lunch menu were identical (it listed portion size/oz.) except everything on the dinner menu cost $2 more.

From the stand-point of a customer, I hate it when restaurants do this, but I wonder if there is a practical reason (besides making more money in a general sense) that some places do this. Again, it's rare around here (mostly the Mexican restaurants and a few places here and there), but just curious. I've never minded paying more for a dinner entree if it was bigger or came with more sides than the lunch entree, but it's just one of those annoyances I have when dining out and something I never really understood.

The closest thing to a potential reason I can think of would be the off-set the extra payroll needed for a dinner service, but I would think the extra sales would make up for that without having to nickel-and-dime customers.
Joined Apr 11, 2018
Right, what he said. It's not so much about charging more for dinner as charging less for lunch to attract more business. Many people don't want to pay dinner prices for their lunch and will go elsewhere if that's all you offer.

But yes it's not the most elegant practice; there are other ways to attract lunch customers.
Joined Aug 15, 2003
You pay more for a movie ticket at night...same seat, same movie.

You pay more for an airline ticket during busy travel days/times...same plane, same seat, same peanuts.

Trains, buses, Ubers, electricity, Broadway tickets, etc all vary pricing for different days/times. Why should the restaurant business be any different? Part of what you pay when you eat out is the ability to sit in the restaurant...when the demand is higher there is more of a premium on things.
Joined May 30, 2015
Thanks for the replies. I never thought of it that way (charging less for lunch). I guess the dilemma isn't so much the business practice as much as how it's marketed to the customer, I think if said restaurant advertised "$2 off between 11-3" it would sound better than how the menu is written. Same thing just sold in a different package.

I suppose it's also regional. Space/seating comes at a much lower premium in Tennessee, and most restaurants encourage camping and have much less rushed service (attentive waitstaff who check on you a lot, but the items come much slower and lots of places won't bring you the ticket until you ask for it), so something normal/common in other areas stands out more around here. It's the same with reservations. I don't know a single restaurant that requires reservations, and quite a few won't even take them.

I've noticed these types of small cultural differences when non-Southerners open restaurants around here and don't know the culture and operate how they would elsewhere, and they usually have a hard time building a clientele even if the food is really good. That and the fact that most of them try to focus on low country/creole food which are both pretty alien in Tennessee. I'm not saying this judgementally, just pointing out how cultural differences can affect how we interpret things. Anyways, I'm getting too far off topic, so I'll stop now.
Joined Jan 31, 2012
Theres an asian buffet near me that actually gets 2.5 times their regular price
on mothers day and fathers day.
And on those days theres an hour wait to get in. Go figger.
Joined Oct 10, 2005
No one's mentioned reservations. A lot of places require a Visa card number to reserve a table. Wonder why?...
Joined May 30, 2015
No one's mentioned reservations. A lot of places require a Visa card number to reserve a table. Wonder why?...

We had a no-show 20 top reservation the other day and called in an extra server to work the table. The FOH manager was livid about losing the payroll when they never showed. Needless to say, we accept reservations on an honor system (like most restaurants in town that take reservations).

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