Leslie Kerr's blog

McDonald's Lobster Rolls

July 20, 2016

Lobster Roll

Ask New Englanders if there's anything better than a lobster roll in the summer and they'll tell you no. But what's almost as good as a lobster roll? Getting to write about one purchased for $8.99 under the Golden Arches! I was downright excited when my amorphous lunch plans took shape and I got to test the waters earlier this week.

How Often Should Restaurants Conduct Pricing Research?

February 8, 2016

Pricing to do list

It's no secret that conducting pricing research is critical to supporting decisions that drive the bottom line. Not only is it practical, but it's also one of the most cost-effective ways to use a research budget. Among the many questions operators have is "how often should we conduct pricing research?" I can answer this many ways, of which this is the simplest: once or twice a year. For a slightly more complicated explanation, read on. 

The New Year in Pricing

January 8, 2016

2016I'm typically not a gung-ho New Year's person. Sure, I send good tidings to all, sometimes later into January than necessary. But new years' resolutions aren't my thing - I prefer to think about how to improve my self/home/work/what-have-you throughout the year, setting goals when it's meaningful rather than letting the calendar force me.

Battle of the Burger: Not a Price War

August 16, 2012

Boston Burger Hot Mess

Boston's Battle of the Burger Winner: The Hot Mess by Boston Burger

Carnivores in Boston had a field day last week at the First Annual Battle of the Burger. Though I'm often skeptical of magazine-produced contests, this Boston Magazine event seemed to truly be based on popular vote, rather than advertising spend. Granted, those who take the time to vote online or spend the money to attend are a self-selecting group, but let's not get hung up on technicalities. While most attendees reveled in the joy of biting into a wide selection of burgers, I also dug into price as I sought my favorite burger. And I learned that this contest mirrors the burgersphere at large: regardless of whether a burger is a bargain or a splurge, it's bound to bring a smile to your face, along with the cheese, bacon, or even foie gras.

Should Restaurants Announce Price Increases?

July 27, 2012


    Photo: L. Kerr

When I bought lunch yesterday, this sign was posted at the front of the queue at a nearby restaurant. Of course I found it interesting, and I'm probably the only who did. Everyone else seemed to be going about their business as usual, and I heard no complaints or comments. The question of whether or not to announce a price increase intrigues me, as does the handling of such an announcement.

Communicating Price Recommendations

March 22, 2012

SRP Commandments

A client recently asked me about communicating price recommendations to franchisees. It seems like a simple question, but the answer may seem more extensive than you'd expect. We've continued to discuss what to communicate and how to communicate it. Here's my overall advice: don't just hand out a list of price recommendations. Add clear and concise explanation on how the recommendations were developed for maximum effect. Your franchisees or managers will appreciate the extra information and the prices will be more credible.

Dan Kim on Red Mango Marketing and Value

October 21, 2011



At last week's National Restaurant Association Marketing Executives Group (MEG) conference, Red Mango founder Dan Kim's keynote was, well, a real treat. Kim’s marketing strategy is quite elegant, and there was even something for a pricing aficionado like me. And why wouldn’t there be – it was a marketing talk, after all.


Kim attributes Red Mango’s growth to three principles:

  • Respond to customer trends with prediction and innovation
  • Deliver value uniquely
  • Let customers own and shape our brand

When Did You Raise Prices Last?

September 15, 2011

My annual tour of casual dining restaurants is underway, and this week a restaurant manager told me that his location has not raised prices in about three years. When clients tell me this, it sometimes comes as a surprise. This isn't because holding prices flat is wrong. Following pricing the way Intellaprice does, however, I know prices go up more frequently than every few years in most cases. In addition, I work with clients who often seek guidance on increasing prices in the face of rising costs. And as a consumer, I'm keenly aware of changes in the price I pay for goods and services. So it stands out when a merchant tells me he or she has not taken price in years.

Lobster Rolls Go QSR (and Fast Casual)

August 24, 2011


Au Bon Pain Lobster Sandwich; Photos: L. Kerr

In New England, everyone's a lobster roll connoisseur. You can't shake a stick without hitting one, and some of my best friends are lobster roll experts. Heck, even I, a Florida native, overcame my lobsta-ignorance and revel in the joy of good lobster rolls, especially during summer. Gone are the days when I questioned why they aren't called lobster salad sandwiches. You just go with it. Everyone here can name their favorite lobster roll spot, or opine on which lobster shack's rolls are the most authentic. Those in the know are well aware that for high-end rolls you go to the North End's Neptune Oyster or the South End's B&G Oysters and pay $25 for their mouth-watering creations. The less lofty among us are just fine with James Hook's Best of Boston for $11.99, or one at Sullivan's in Southey for $9.95. But I'm not interested in any of those today; today is about lobster rolls gone QSR and Fast Casual! 

Incremental Menu Prices Should Drive Profit

July 14, 2011


Talking with a client yesterday, I had to ask about the company's incremental pricing. Incremental pricing has various definitions, and I use it to refer to the additional price a customer pays to purchase the next larger size of an item, or in this case, the difference between one variety of a product and another. So much impact on restaurant sales and profit is at stake with this extremely simple aspect of the menu.

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