Recently, Taste of India, my favorite Indian restaurant near my university, ran an unbelievable special for one night only: $3 dinners and free desserts.
I had not planned on Indian food for dinner that night, but this deal immediately intrigued my inner bargain hunter. The moment my roommate told me about the promotion, we dropped everything we were doing and headed to the restaurant. In fact, I had already purchased groceries for that evening’s meal, but they became irrelevant at the thought of aloo gobi that costs less than a single head of cauliflower.
As we ordered our bargain naan and chana masala, this deal still baffled me. The average cost of one dish from the Taste of India menu is $9. How could it be profitable for the restaurant to mark their food down by nearly 70 percent?
Upon reflection, the messaging from the promotion revealed a detailed and strategic relationship between Taste of India and its customers.
It demonstrates deep understanding of their customers
Overall, the promotion demonstrates that Taste of India understands who their target audiences are and how to communicate with them.
The lower prices make their food more attainable for a large customer base, helping to build their reputation throughout the local community. It makes their food approachable for:
- College students: A study from Cornell University about students’ eating habits found that price was a main factor in student food choices. They felt pressured by the high price of food and motivated by inexpensive or free meals.
- Low-income households: The Oregon Department of Human Services has identified three high poverty “hotspots” in Eugene, Oregon and, according to statistics from the United States Census Bureau, 21.7 percent of its residents live below the property line.
Opening the opportunity to try their food to lower-income and budget-conscious patrons demonstrates their commitment to their local community and knowledge of their potential customer base.
“Free” Food is profitable
The extremely low prices and opportunity for free food made customers feel like they were taking advantage of Taste of India at their own request. The deal was so good that bargain customers felt obligated to partake while it was still available.
The Power of Time Limitations
Although the restaurant lowered their prices, the promotion’s short length raised its overall value for their customers. It turned their food into a commodity by increasing local interest in the restaurant.
No matter my original food preferences for the night, I felt obliged to get Indian food while it was still a good deal. This sense of urgency made their communication efforts more effective and more enticing.
The promotion was shocking enough that it spurred conversation among its customers and the local community. My roommates were excited to hear about the deal for themselves and to share it with others. It generated in-person and digital conversations about food, local business and, most importantly, Taste of India.
Taste of India’s promotion originally appeared almost irresponsibly cheap, but, in reality, it was an ingenious method of engaging their customers’ interest and generating action.
What food would you drop everything to buy for $3? Leave a comment below with your opinion on Taste of India’s use of this promotion.