Bishop Sessa’s latest promotion encourages diners to leave the car at home. Diners who take an Uber to the restaurant between 1 August and 30 October can claim half their fare, to the value of $15, back on their food and beverage bill. Owner Erez Gordon spoke to Hospitality about where the idea came from, how it works and how it will benefit both diners and his business.

“I was intrigued by the commercial understanding of some businesses about the impact that parking or a perceived lack of parking might have on their bottom line. I don’t think it’s really a big problem… [but] I do spend a lot of time on the phone talking to people about parking options,” said Gordon.

“I realised that I don’t want them to drive here at all. Bishop Sessa provides a genuine restaurant experience, and wine is very much a part of that. So really, we would prefer diners to take an Uber, enjoy the experience and not worry about how much wine you’ll have or where you’ll park.”

It’s one thing to suggest to diners that they take a cab, but another to offer a solution, said Gordon.

“I thought, I need to action this and make it a reality for people,” he said. “With the advent of Uber, cab fares have become cheaper so, from an expenditure point of view, they’re more accessible.

“Plus with the Uber app, the trip history is so clear: it shows where you came from, where you got dropped off, the date of the fare and how much it cost.”

Realising that the platform decreased the business risks, Gordon decided to offer diners a 50 percent discount on trips taken to the restaurant. Although the app does provide voucher codes that businesses can give to customers, it made more sense for Bishop Sessa to provide diners with a discount on their bill, so at this stage the app isn’t directly involved with the promotion.

“The reason we’re sticking with Uber and not offering the same deal for other taxi fares is because the documentation is so clear with Uber,” said Gordon.

“When diners show up to Bishop Sessa, they can show their ride history – all the details are there, and they can’t be fudged – then we can take half the cost off their bill.

“It’ll increase the spend per head for beverages and we’re providing a service to clientele that’s unique. We aren’t just rehashing the same promotions. We do a lot of promotions that are about giving things away, like free cocktails, but that’s targeted and doesn’t always work for everyone. ”

To protect the Bishop Sessa’s commercial interest, Gordon said it was important to develop terms and conditions that are fair, reasonable and attractive, but don’t create risk for the business.

“This is a trial period. We’ve worked out our existing beverage spend per head over the last three months, which we’ve used to calculate our projected sales for the next three months. Then we’ll look at what we spent on the discount over the period. If it’s worth it, then we’ll keep doing it.”

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