Recipe for Success

According to an article from online.wsj.com, “Chef and restaurateur David Burke’s business sounds like a financial-crisis perfect storm.”

“His restaurants are mainly in hard-hit areas including Manhattan’s Upper East Side and Las Vegas. Mr. Burke has no experience owning restaurants in a down economy; he launched his empire during restaurant boom times, starting in 2003. And the $7 billion fine-dining industry will see a 12% to 15% drop in sales this year, according to Technomic, a Chicago restaurant industry consultant,” said the story. “And yet…Mr. Burke reports overall growth, some of his restaurants are booked to capacity on some evenings, and restaurant-industry analysts say he is one of the few high-end players with the right idea for the times. How could this be? Mr. Burke, it seems, has figured out a way to navigate the downturn. His strategy is to throw out the high-end-dining playbook that says discounting should be subtle. Instead, he is offering dramatic, attention-getting and significant discounts. By engineering the menu carefully and keeping labor costs in check, he is able to slash prices without losing money, he says.”