Last Update: Oct 31st, 2011
Philippe chow

Philippe Chow's Questionable Price Claim

When we reviewed Philippe Chow's new Boca Raton restaurant, we pointed out that their claim that their prices at Boca are 30-35% less than Miami was misleading; if not an outright lie, at least based on the posted menus on Chow's website. A press release from 7/15/11 made the 30-35% claim, but also cited examples that were in the 20-27% discount range. So maybe this was just a math skills issue?

Last week the CEO of Philippe Chow re-iterated that the prices were in fact 30-40% less than the other restaurants; so I decided to do some analysis. Did I mention that I got 100 on the NY State Algebra Regents? I'm pretty good at math.

For reference, here is the last Miami menu from the Miami restaurant that they closed in June.

The Boca menu is here.

Now let's do some math on some popular items.

Philippe prices

So I suppose that if you just have soup and salad you can save $35%. But the entrees are only $10-25% off generally, so you really can't make the claim that this restaurant is 30-35% less expensive.

It's important to note that their wine prices are the same in Boca as Miami, and they're not good prices. A Catina Malbec is $17 at Total Wine, and they sell it for $75. A "fair" price is $50 for this bottle. I paid $6 for a bottled beer at happy hour (beer is not discounted).

To further illustrate the Math, I'll outline an actual "special occasion" dinner with things that I might actually order.

Philippe dinner

As you can see, neither location is very budget friendly. When adding in their very expensive wine list, the savings on the evening is only 12%. While it's nice to "save" 12%, keep in mind that you're comparing the prices to the high rent district in South Beach, where there are a lot of very expensive restaurants. There are a lot of other choices in Boca at a much lower price point.

The issue here is that when a place advertises that it's 30-35% less expensive than another place, you expect to save that much on the entire evening. There's virtually no way you're saving that much; as no reasonable combination of choices yields that much in savings. If you have to cherry pick items from the menu to substantiate your claim, then you have a problem with the message.


We contacted Chow's CEO and their PR firm (The Gab Group) for comment on how they came up with their 30-35% claim. Their response was that there is no Miami restaurant or menu yet, so we should compare the Boca menu to the New York City. Personally, I thought that was a pretty bad idea, because being 30% less expensive than New York City isn't really anything special. Aren't martinis like $30 in Manhattan?

I looked at the menu and it didn't look much different than the one we have from Miami; a couple of the dishes were a few dollars higher. As an exercise in futility, I ran the numbers.

Chowny data

Compared to the NY menu, there are 5 out of 68 menu items that meet the 30-35% less price claim. Chicken dishes are $2 more in NYC, and a few other dishes are priced higher, while soup is "only" $7 compared to the $10 they were charging at their previous Miami restaurant.

Plugging the numbers into my mock dinner example, NYC is actually $1 less than Miami.

Chowny dinner

A bit more than 12% savings on the entire meal. Of course this also means that the Wine List prices are the same in Boca as they are in NYC, which really doesn't sound too good to me.

This is sort of a silly thing to try to justify, particularly when a message of "substantially less than our other restaurants" would be equally as effective. Once people see the menu, the percent off is completely meaningless. So why not craft a message that's accurate?

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