Two-for-one dinners make sense; just as retail discount sales do |

Two-for-one dinners make sense; just as retail discount sales do

When I read Reid Williams’ article (“More closings and closing longer,” May 2), I felt compelled to write a response, but did not due to other engagements.

After reading letter-writer Mary Jo Molina’s response to that same article, I now feel the need to express my views.

First, I would like to concede to Ms. Molina that I do feel that it is a smart business decision for some restaurateurs to close their businesses between peak seasons when the economic indicators forecast turbulent times ahead.

However, I do not feel that the other restaurants that continue to remain open between peak seasons offering two-for-one deals “cheapen our county.”

Ms. Molina’s response is logically flawed because she attributes a quality true of restaurants to many other dissimilar businesses in Summit County. 

Her conclusion cannot be properly drawn when comparing dentists and hair salons to the restaurant industry, although most of us who live in Summit County realize that some businesses will fluctuate between seasons.

Also in her response, she wrongfully assumes the restaurant owners are offering two-for-one dinners solely to keep their doors open.

She does not consider that restaurants may offer these deals to locals during the offseasons in appreciation for their continuous patronage, to just plainly give something back to the community or to clear excess inventory for their planned closings as the resorts close.

In her response, she mentions these many dissimilar businesses to try to make her point, but she did not mention the most similar industry to the restaurant industry – retail.

As a former retail general manager/buyer, I can see how the restaurant and retail industries follow similar cyclical patterns in a resort area.

Retailers and restaurant owners share a similar dilemma. Each wants to charge the highest price the market will bear to ensure shareholders’ wealth, but oftentimes that goal is unattainable; thus they must offer their items at a discount.

Over the last few months, retailers were slashing the prices on their seasonal merchandise, often at or below wholesale pricing to remove excess inventory. But there were no articles written in the paper about it, nor did anyone complain about how cheap their perception of Summit County was.

To prove how unreasonable her logic is, I would like to provide an example using hers as my basis: Do you know anyone who has complained about buying a sale item from a retail store?

Did anyone feel they were cheapening the county by doing so? If you are like me, you probably even purchased something on sale. And guess what, Mary Jo? This “sale concept” occurs in Vail, Beaver Creek, Boulder and, you guessed it, Denver, too.

As some of these restaurants decide to close down for the season, they decreased the supply of restaurants and increased the demand for the restaurants that remain open. However, this does not mean the remaining restaurants will instantaneously reap the rewards of increased demand because there is still a limiting factor on the consumer.

The consumers’ income did not increase as a direct result to the closing of these restaurants, but to make matters worse, many consumers lost their incomes due to the seasonality of their employment, as is the case with the displaced restaurant workers.

These are important market conditions that dictate how the businesses in Summit County are managed – and why business owners need to discount when necessary.

Fortunately for us, both restaurants and retail businesses are customer-service driven, and customer perception is the main factor that supports these businesses.

Roe Schardt, owner of the Briar Rose in Breckenridge, is going to learn this lesson the hard way from my girlfriend and me. One day previous to Reid’s article, we took advantage of the two-for-one dinners at the Briar Rose.

The next day I opened the paper and read her quote, “I think a lot of places just don’t want to deal with the clientele it draws. They’re demanding. They try to beat the system, even though they are getting a deal.”

Wake up, Roe: You are in customer service and the goal of your business should be to meet or exceed customer expectations.

A good owner/manager can turn negatives into positives and not lash out against customers. My girlfriend and I planned on only ordering dinner, but ended up having drinks and a dessert, which were not discounted.

I would finally like to explain how two-for-one dinners benefit Summit County. They offer a way for people to eat at a place they might not otherwise be able to afford, normally would not try, or did not know existed until they saw the two-for-one dinner advertised. 

If the restaurant’s goal is to reduce inventory, then our help is needed. We will then be able to give back to these restaurants this summer on a trail or next winter on the lift (using our Buddy Passes) when a tourist asks where they should go eat. 

I will recommend a restaurant that I have been to, liked its food, and was treated courteously.

Believe it or not, Mary Jo and Roe: We may even help Summit County businesses due to these deals. The more help we provide, the stronger our local economy will be, and then maybe Summit County will not be too cheap for you.

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