$5 is the new black

First it was Subway with its $5 foot-longs and annoying jingles to match. Then Quizno’s followed with a copycat $5 menu before getting even more aggressive with a $4 sub. After that, the floodgates opened and Boston Market and Shoney’s tried $5 specials. Now T.G.I. Friday’s joins the list.

For the 31 days of May, 16 sandwiches and salads at the fast-casual chain will be just five bones. That’s not just lunch but the dinner price, too. Sandwiches include the California chicken club, the barbecued chicken wrap, the chipotle grilled-steak sandwich and the All-American sandwich (chicken with American cheese, green chili sauce, bacon, lettuce and tomato). Salads include traditional fare such as the Cobb and the chicken Caesar as well as new creations like the Shanghai salad, which is romaine with crispy noodles and pork pot stickers.

Considering it’s a sit-down place and competitors like Chili’s cost about $2 more (and that’s the Chili’s bargain price), it seems like a good deal — and one that’s likely to drive fear into the heart of Applebee’s, which is running its own special (a $20 dinner for two).
Another price that T.G.I. Friday’s competitors are going to have trouble matching is the restaurant’s Cinco De Mayo special. They’re essentially giving away food, offering 5-cent appetizers such as mozzarella sticks and potato skins from 4 to 7 p.m. on May 5.

Obviously, the company’s strategy is to just get people through the door, but when meals are discounted 60 percent from normal price, there’s virtually no markup left. The company is hoping that people will buy high-markup alcohol drinks, but its unreasonable to expect someone paying $5 for a meal to pay $6 for a beer. My two cents is that it’s throwing the baby out with the bathwater, but then again, 2cents just might be the price of its next special.

Categories: Dining, Food & Drink