Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Stephen Starr Ups The Ante, Offers A 24 oz. Rib Eye For $18 At Butcher & Singer

butcher and singer dining roomThe burger deal has helped thicken the lunch crowds at Butcher & Singer — 1,500 covers at lunch per week, 90% of which order the burger. Which is apparently enough for Starr to try another deal to help thicken the dinner crowds at the same restaurant.
Thought the Butcher and Singer burger deal was good? Starting Wednesday night, you can get a 24 oz. Bone-In Rib Eye for $18 at dinner. [ Starr Restaurants on Twitter ]
A 24 oz. rib eye for $18. That's another fairly ridiculous deal.

To put that into perspective, a 20 oz. dry aged rib eye is $48 at Barclay Prime. (And a 18 oz. bone-in rib eye at Union Trust is $62.) Now, of course, that's probably a more expensive cut of meat, but still — $18 for a 24 oz. bone-in rib eye is a substantial deal.

How does this discounting trend mesh with Stephen Starr's earlier philosophy on the recession? It's a bit of a departure.

In May, Starr was a panelist at a Penn Fashion Week discussion titled, "Can Luxury Survive the Economy," hosted at Wharton.

Here's an excerpt of some of his comments from that panel:
Some businesses that cater to the luxury market are modifying their products to make them more affordable. Panelist Stephen Starr, the owner of upscale restaurants in Philadelphia, New York, Atlantic City and Ft. Lauderdale, has noticed a change among customers since the economy slowed.

Although the flow of diners has not diminished, they are opting for inexpensive wines over cocktails, he said. In response, rather than dropping prices, Starr has added new items to the menu.

"You have to be careful not to just drop the price. That would cheapen what we do. So we put [lower-priced] items on the menu... It's the same customer. We just want to make them feel comfortable by offering something less expensive ... without telling them that it's cheap."
Unlike the Butcher Burger, the 24 oz. rib eye is not on the regular dinner menu at Butcher & Singer. Which means Starr is listening to his own advice. Kind of.

He is adding a less expensive menu item, but he is also making it noticeable enough to make sure it catches people's attention.

A little trademark dramatic flare from big top Steve-O. No big deal.

Also of note: he's not doing this everywhere. At other places (read Barclay Prime, Morimoto's lounge, Jones, etc.), he merely introduced lower priced menu items. Butcher & Singer may just need a little extra attention.

Below, a video of the always happy Marnie Hall from Philly.com going behind the scenes for a Butcher Burger.

The New High-end Consumer: 'Please Put My Bottega Veneta Wallet in a Plain Bag' [ Knowledge @ Wharton ]
Butcher & Singer [ Official Site ]

Update: Starr Not Messing Around With Butcher & Singer Burger Promotion

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