Restaurants Really, Really Like You

Today’s New York Times has a feature on the new lengths that restaurateurs are going to in order to retain their client base in these tough economic times. This includes everything from slashing tasting menu prices, being more accommodating with reservations and even giving stuff away for free. One diner’s account:

Joan Rappoport, a Manhattan event planner who lives in the West Village and eats out regularly, said that she sensed a climatic shift as early as six months ago. “The attitude that a number of places used to have, they don’t have that anymore,” Ms. Rappoport said, her tone of voice communicating equal measures bewilderment and relief. “That attitude of ‘we’re doing you a favor,’ that frosty condescending attitude — I don’t find that anymore. And I’ve experienced that change over and over again.”

Of course, the frosty, condescending attitude is really a New York specialty – that sort of cooler-than-thou business doesn’t fly in the Philadelphia hospitality industry. Is it because we’re so darn hospitable or because we’re just not cool enough to carry it off? Topic for future discussion!

However, we have been seeing hints of some of the same customer-enticing behavior locally: Restaurant Week extended for a second week and nearly all restaurants choosing to participate, free beer with your mac-n-cheese at Swallow, no-corkage BYOB Sunday nights at licensed spots like Supper.

What sort of discounts/accommodations would encourage you to go out to dine more? Nicer employees, cheaper food, freer drinks?

Restaurants Stop Playing Hard to Get [NYT]