In a world rife with pandemic fatigue and rising inflation rates, a good, in-person bargain feels priceless, especially when it comes to dining out. Enter the epicurean cult of Sunday brunchers, a community that considers the day to be synonymous with brunch. But, for the first time in years, restaurants experienced a lull on this otherwise fruitful and sprightly day (thanks to Covid). To mitigate this loss and lure brunchers back in, several restaurants throughout New York City have resumed offering “bottomless brunch” — a bold offer that begs the question: Are these spots ultimately making or losing money?
Brooklyn’s Mediterranean-inspired New American restaurant Ten Hope launched its bottomless brunch as “a way to get people back to going out,” says owner Bill Zafiros. He wanted to offer brunchers a clear value, without the frat party vibe, making his restaurant the sort of place where you can come with a large group and either lounge or dine in what feels more like a garden oasis than a traditional brick and mortar restaurant. With the purchase of an entrée, $25 gets guests a wide assortment — in fact, it’s one of the most exhaustive lists in the city — of bottomless drinks for 90 minutes. “So while it’s a great bargain, it’s [also] increased our check averages, because each person who orders the bottomless is also ordering an entrée,” Zafiros says, noting that the food order requirement also resolves the issue of people getting too drunk.
“It’s a deal, but it’s such a good deal that some people tend to order it even if they aren’t planning on consuming much,” Zafiros says. And this is where the “bottomless” offer catches its bait: $25 typically amounts to two drinks anyway, so why not order an entrée while you’re at it? At the end of the day, “brunch” is as much about the food and drinks as it is about the joyous lingering of communing with other for hours on end, sharing stories of the week past.
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Suffice it to say, Ten Hope’s bottomless brunch (offered on Sundays and Saturdays from 12 to 4 p.m.) has created plenty of momentum, with brunches selling out every weekend. As an added bonus, Zafiros says the restaurant has benefited from “an increase in event inquiries, many of those inquiries coming from customers who have come in for the bottomless brunch.”
So, when it comes to giving customers something a little extra, bottomless brunches are more boon than bust. Their success goes beyond the promotion’s sheer value, and restaurants can benefit from increased brand awareness and a higher customer loyalty rate.