Discovering restaurants through "free sampling"

I appreciate an amuse bouche (not a snack . . . something to tickle the mouth :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye: I have only experienced it at high-end restaurants or, occasionally, at upper-mid level establishments playing with a new app they are considering and provide a taste to determine its acceptance among diners. Some I have greatly enjoyed, others are OK and others were just not to my taste. The success of these bites never really factor into my enjoyment of the meal as a whole. I certainly would not base a visit on the availability of a free bite. Same for the cookies\macarons\muffins sent at the end of a meal.

As others had said, the dining experience is the ambiance and quality of service, but most of all the quality of the food. And as the chief cook-and-bottlewasher in my house, the lack of prep and cleanup when I just want to relax and enjoy.


I used to work close to a very popular pizza place. While you waited in line they would slice up a pizza into very small slices to keep you waiting. I often wondered if they actually sold less pizza as I, for one, was 1/2 full before being seated.

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Well, for me the motivation would be an interesting menu in my price range, and good reviews by people who seemed to be interested in the food rather than the drinks and who seemed to know what they were talking about. However, since you seem to think reviews are a bad thing, I doubt we are going to come to a meeting of the minds.


But if there are 10 reviews and 7 or 8 cite subpar food, poor service and\or cleanliness issues I would want to know that. If 7 or 8 cite excellent food, great service and impeccable cleanliness I would like to know that as well. I do not want to level an uneven playing field.

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We don’t eat out often, even pre-COVID. We are loyal to a few places however and for whatever reason are remembered. We’ve been offered “try this and let us know what you think” a number of times.

I suspect part of being recognized is that I use the same photo/icon across the Internet and it isn’t hard to get from that to me. I never take freebies or ask for discounts. That may also lead to be remembered.


Order a lot? Tip well? Kind to the staff?

There’s only one place we go to regularly that does this. It’s a Mumbai street food restaurant and, almost invariably, sometime during the meal, the owner will appear with a dish for us to try. It’s always a something that we wouldnt usually order and I suspect he’s trying to widen our eating horizons. He’s also aware that I write reviews (posted here and Tripadvisor and sent to the UK’s Good Food Guide) so I don’t think it’s entirely altruistic.


Thanks for sharing your experience, shrinkrap! =)

Haha, do you mean I’m trying to create a non-existing problem?

Oh no… xD

I see.

So for you, personally, eating out is about the whole dining experience and not just getting fed because you’re hungry.

That’s a really good point! The whole ambience/experience is very important as well.

Thank you for your personal insight, John! =)

Ugh…a very valid point there. Amuse bouche isn’t used to draw someone into the restaurant.

I just thought maybe during the holidays (Christmas) when restaurants would give away a little holidays treats to the customers would give them a good reason to dine in and elevate the entire dining experience into something fun. Oh, especially Halloween! :0

Hmmm yeah maybe I need to rethink the whole validity of my app concept.

I initially thought these amuse bouche would serve as compasses for adventurous food lovers to try out new restaurants. They’re just tiny “bonuses.”

But you’re right, people are going to go out of their way just for that free thing unless it also happens to be at a restaurant they love.

Thanks piggy kobuta! =)

Yeah, you’re right. People wouldn’t go to a restaurant just for that amuse bouche.

I guess my intention originally was that these amuse bouche would encourage users to try out new restaurants. However, it seems like people wouldn’t try new restaurants JUST because of amuse bouche.

Even before the pandemic, the restaurant industry saw a steady incline in off-premise dining, and I wanted to revert that trend because the commission fees are destroying restaurants’ profits. Again, I thought the amuse bouche concept would bring more people into the restaurant. Apparently I was wrong.

Thanks for your input, BKeats! =)

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Alright. Thank you for investing so much of your time replying to me, small_h! =)

Ahhh. It’s good that you mentioned cookies/macarons/muffins. because I was just going to ask that! I guess you’re not interested in those high caloric snacks huh? xD

Yeah my original intent was that these amuse bouche are just tiny “bonuses” for those who want to try out new restaurants.

Woah, that pizza idea you mentioned sounds pretty cool! :0

Yeah I understand…I mean reviews are great, but too often we resort to our heuristic approach to making a decision: “if it’s 4.5 stars, then it’s gotta be good!”

And thus, leaving those businesses with a lower score behind in the dust without giving them a chance.

There’s a study conducted by Harvard Business School in 2011, and they found that a loss of a star on Yelp equates to approximately the loss of 5-9% in revenue.

But yeah I totally see where you’re coming from, Evelyn. And I don’t think reviews are bad at all. Just overrated sometimes! =)

Haha you seem like a pretty popular guy to those restaurant establishments, Dave! =)

Andrew - you may be interested in this very on-topic article by Grace Dent, who is one of my favourite restaurant reviewers. By co-incidence it appears in my newspaper this morning

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No. Decently. Absolutely. I review fairly and clearly and have dropped off copies of reviews. I’m also well known in the small, niche (boat) cruising community and Annapolis restaurants know I send custom their way.


Haha, I love it!

Thanks for sharing, John! =)

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I thought you’d appreciate it, Andrew.

I’m so in tune with her sentiments. It’s what I was trying to explain upthread about the “experience”. First meal out already booked for 19/5 - local bistro that ticks all of the “experience” boxes for me. If it’s good there, it will be a confidence boost for going to other places. If it is not good there, then we’re fucked.

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