Michelin-starred restaurants cut prices as supermarkets turn up the heat

Posted by Daniel Palmer on 9th February 2009

A number of Michelin-starred restaurants in London are slashing the prices of set course menus at lunch and dinner to as low as £12 (A$26.50) in order to entice consumers confronted with a recession and new ‘luxury’ meals from supermarkets.

Woman Supermarket Shopping

Tesco, Asda and Marks and Spencer are all heavily promoting ‘restaurant quality’ meals for two in the lead up to Valentine’s Day, a move clearly designed to tap into the ‘eating in’ trend picked up by market researchers around the world.

Tesco is seeking to undercut Marks and Spencer who were first to introduce the concept last year at around £10 (A$22) for a three course meal for two and a bottle of wine. Tesco’s offer for two incorporates a selection of the Finest range meals (Tesco’s most expensive private label option) with a separate side dish, a dessert and a bottle of wine for £9 (A$20) – less than half the price if bought individually.

The introduction follows the success of a small trial of the deal before Christmas that has gone on to boost sales of luxury convenience foods, Tesco advised. Stores that ran the initial trial reported a 20 per cent increase in sales of convenience meals.

The trial was in response to customer research highlighting that people don’t want to give up “the good life” because of the credit crunch and are finding ways of continuing to enjoy life’s little luxuries. Instead of going out to dine in expensive restaurants many are occasionally treating themselves to top of the range meals and wines which they are enjoying at home but for far less money, the UK’s largest retailer claimed.

Customer feedback also found that most men wanted a red meat option and a good quality wine as part of the package, while the most important requirement for women was a chocolate dessert included in the offering.