How to buy a fine dining dinner in Houston
The best restaurant in the Houston area is worth the money you pay for it, according to a new study.
In a series of six experiments, researchers at the University of Texas at Austin’s Kellogg School of Management and the University at Buffalo’s Graduate School of Business have tested what people pay for restaurants, comparing the price of three restaurants with the same quality and service.
The study found that the quality of food and service are the most important factors in choosing restaurants.
“We want to get into the idea of what you’re getting at the end of the meal,” says Sarah E. Leiben, professor of management and economics at Kellogg.
“The more expensive it is, the better it is.”
In their study, the Kellogg researchers tested food at two of the top restaurants in Houston, La Casa and La Maison, for a three-day span from January to May.
Their study also included data from a three month-long survey of Houstonians.
“People have to decide for themselves whether they’re going to pay a higher price for their dinner, or if it’s going to be worth it,” Leibens says.
“They’re going down the same line of thought.
The problem with the data is, we can’t say if a restaurant is worth it or not, we don’t know.”
The study is the first of its kind to analyze restaurant prices and service and asks two important questions.
First, are you paying a premium for the food?
And second, what percentage of your dollar is going to go toward the food and the service?
The study’s researchers focused on three categories: quality of the food, service and the price.
Quality was measured by the quality score, which was derived from the survey results and an analysis of restaurant receipts.
“Quality of food” was measured through a review of menu items and restaurant reviews by the researchers.
For the quality scores, restaurants scored 0 on a scale from 1 to 10, with 1 being average and 10 being exceptional.
“Service” was defined as the total number of people who were seated at the restaurant, as well as the length of time that they were there, which is how long it took to get seated.
“Quality score” was also measured in terms of whether the restaurant had high quality food, like a Michelin star or a Top Chef rating, or poor quality food like a low-rated steak, the researchers found.
“Price” was calculated by subtracting the price from the total price.
Lebens says, “If the restaurant is getting a low quality score and a high quality score it’s a good deal.”
“So, if you look at a restaurant that’s really high quality, and if it comes out to a $300 price, then you’re going back and forth,” Lebenson says.
The researchers found that people are paying about 30 percent more for a high-quality meal than a low one.
That means people are willing to pay more for quality food and a quality service.
“A lot of people don’t even know that there are these different metrics,” Leibaens says of the survey.
“So, it’s important for people to understand these different factors.”
The researchers also compared the restaurant’s price with a similar restaurant that is more expensive, and found that customers pay about 25 percent more.
The results also showed that restaurants that have low quality and high service are more expensive.
“People pay more because they’re expecting to be served better, but they’re not getting it,” she says.
The study also found that restaurants with lower quality and higher service are generally worth more.
“You’re going from $50 to $100 for the same amount of service,” Lei says.
The researchers estimate that this adds up to about $1,000 to the restaurant.
The survey was also used to determine whether people were willing to go out of their way to spend more on a restaurant.
“When we ask people what they want to spend, the most common answer is that they want more expensive food and lower quality food,” Leifenson says, which can be a problem when people are not satisfied.
The Kellogg team will be presenting their findings at the American Economic Association in Dallas on Monday.
“If we can improve the customer experience and reduce the cost of high-end dining, then the more people who go out and spend more money, the more money they have to spend at the table,” Lejbenson said.
“That’s a positive thing.”
The Kellog team will present their findings to the world’s best restaurants on May 16.