The Adrian Loveridge Column – Time to Discover re-Discover

Adrian Loveridge

One of the biggest challenges to expanding the already successful re-DISCOVER dine-around initiative has been the failure to better explain the concept of revenue control to some of our restaurants. Just ten customers each evening, ordering the re-DISCOVER menu six nights per week and 50 weeks per year generates almost $300,000 in additional revenue, per establishment annually.

While this portion may not be the most profitable part of their turnover, it goes a very long way to meeting basic operating costs including paying utility bills, land taxes, insurance and rent. The most engaged restaurant partners control the bookings to encourage early diners occupying 6 pm or 6. 30pm tables, which they can they re-sell at 8pm or 8.30pm.

Effective revenue control is now one of the most practiced and managed component parts of the entire travel, hospitality and tourism industry. Nowadays when you board a plane, the chance that the passenger in the next seat and similar class is paying an identical fare is almost unknown. Likewise with most hotel chains, even when you compare the same room on the same floor. Hire cars are another classic example, where the final rental price paid can even depend on which (country) you are resident in.

So why certain eating establishments believe that a one fixed- price for all offering is the only thing they should have to proffer is a complete mystery. Timing of booking is also a critical factor in pricing with many tourism providers, often matching the most attractive rates to around three weeks prior to when the service or product is used.

And while re-DISCOVER was initially launched back in 2002 with our cherished visitors in mind, roughly 50 per cent of all those using it frequently are locals and why should we even consider not trying to entice a resident population of almost 280,000 people?

It costs absolutely nothing for dinner restaurant partners to join the re-DISCOVER programme and a token $50 per year for lunch inclusion, so you would think every one of our eateries would want to be onboard. Of course we encourage patrons to report back their experiences and to post comments on the various social media platforms. A common response is that how can some restaurants not turn a $6 portion of fish into a $99 menu and in the process, make money?

Having thirty years in the industry on Barbados I am personally fully aware of all the costing challenges, but I largely share this view and know that targeted pricing can contribute enormously to profitability, increased volume and returning clientele.

It is one of the many reasons that Groupon has been so successful. Almost daily I receive their special offers and have frequently taken advantage, either for personal consumption or as gifts.  In the last reported quarter of 2017, the daily Groupon deal site had 49.5 million unique customers who had bought at least one ‘deal’ during the trailing 12 months according to Statista, the statistic portal.

Quite simply this is how business is done in a millennial age and not to adapt and exploit these ways is like burying our heads in the sand.

6 comments

  • @Adrian

    Unfortunately Adrian you will find you are unable to tell a HIGHLY EDUCATED BARBADIAN anything, they know it all.

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  • Are we saying that restaurants do not have access to accounting expertise to appreciate the benefit of ‘breakeven’ business as you put it?

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  • Adrian: I complement you on your attempt to encourage dining out by the use of re-Discover Barbados Restaurant promotion. I would suggest however that the size of the voucher is rather large, may I suggest that a perforated section , wallet sized be included in the brochure, that could be removed and carried in ones wallet. I might also suggest wider distribution of the voucher. Since I am in the suggestion mode, perhaps if local business wish to use Groupon , they post in the market areas of tourism origination, as well as the local market.

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  • Bernard Codrington

    This is what innovation and creativity in costing and marketing is about. But first one has to know the market and what one’s business objectives are.

    Very insightful article.

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  • The Re-discover dining program is not so much about revenue control as fixed cost ROI Advertising. It’s unfortunate that only 20 dining establishments have joined the program. Looking through the various establishment menu items I’m impressed by the offerings. A few years ago we used this program extensively however over time the number of establishments decreased and the offerings become somewhat mundane. The present limited 20 establishments in the program are offering a wide variation of culinary styles and menu selections. The program does appear to be aimed mainly at the frugal tourist visitor. I would suggest that with a more varied selection more locals could be persuaded to also take advantage of the program. I would also suggest that an upscale offering by some of the West Coast establishments would also be beneficial for their bottom line.

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  • I used to bypass Adrian’s post, but have come to realize that it is chock full of useful information.
    Three comments:
    1. I think that Adrian should try to embed a link for re-discover Barbados in his post. I had to open up a next window and google.
    2. I looked at the menus and found they were not Caribbean enough. Let me explain… I eat out often and have done my share`of other ethnic foods. I would be willing to dine on Bajan dishes. Does Adrian feel that local dishes cannot command the price or hold the interest of the locals and tourists?
    3. I am not a man of unlimited wealth, but doing a better than scraping by. Is the price attractive to locals.

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