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I remember giving a joint presentation--with a practising attorney--to a group of newly qualified associates. When we told them that their ultimate goal was to make money for the firm by diligently representing clients, there was consternation. They were expecting to be told that their ultimate goal was to serve blind justice, or something.

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It's the Fall Preview issue of New York magazine, and there's a profile of Batali's new Meatpacking District place, Del Posto.     More Fall Preview food stuff

Actually hiring their CdC did

Wow. I don't disbelieve you in any way but those rates are pretty unbelievable.

He actually included the techies:

Katz attributes the hike, which he instituted in October, to a rise in overall costs rather than a specific increase in food or labor costs. "Operating a business in New York City continues to get more expensive. Every time you need to use a lawyer or call someone to fix your website, everything continues to get more expensive — food costs included, the costs of linens, included."

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$49 + $11 in amortized supplements + $10 for a taste of pasta, which you really want at least 2 of because otherwise what are you even doing there. $105 after tax and tip, before martinis. Good deal.

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That's it. Our lunch there last year was $350-400 for two (two pasta supplements, dish supplement, wine, amaros, opening cocktail). worth it, yes, but not exactly cheap (though inexpensive in the relative sense).

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General question: What percentage of customers actually stick to the straight-and-narrow and order no extras (drinks, supplemented items, etc.), do you think? Or of tables where everyone orders the unsupplemented prix fixe and nothing else, and no one goes à la carte? There may be some, I suppose.* But the temptation is not in ordering only the less-expensive meal, but in the wonderful add-ons.

 

*Lord knows I try to go cheap (not at Del Posto; haven't been there), but in most places it's really, really hard to not succumb to something else.

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In this sphere of economic activity, I think it does make sense to pay heed to 'sunk costs'. If I'm already in for $X, it seems silly to begrudge a few more dollars if they would improve my odds for an enjoyable meal.

 

Of course if one is tripling, quadrupling the base cost of a meal, and $ value was part of the justification for the meal...

 

* Generally my 'add-ons' that significantly increase the price of a meal are to do with wine. I try not to spend much more than 100% of my total food $ on wine, but sometimes I fail. When, a few years ago, Felix Salmon blogged the average dinner receipts at prominent NY restaurants, I was surprised by how little many diners [the Millennials?] must be spending on wine, even at four-star restaurants.

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I can't imagine going to Del Posto and not having pasta. So, the way the lunch prix-fixe is structured, you're forced to pay a supplement since there doesn't appear to be the option of having the pasta as a "secondo."

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I can't see the point of trying to 'go cheap' at a four star restaurant. Save up your pennies ,go once a year,if you can afford that, and go for the entire experience. There's no way a huge fancy restaurant can use good ingredients,have a staff on hand to cook the food and serve you at lunch,and not count on you supplementing your meal.

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There's no way a huge fancy restaurant can use good ingredients,have a staff on hand to cook the food and serve you at lunch,and not count on you supplementing your meal

According to the gm at Del Posto they'd be able to if it wasn't for the lawyers.

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