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You Spent How Much on Lunch?

November 20, 2009  
Prices on the lunch menu at Maloney & Porcelli are typical of restaurants in its segment: You can start with appetizers like the $14 tuna-and-avocado tartare or the $20 crab cake; a mixed-green salad goes for $10: and one of the eatery's signature filet mignons will cost at least $39.

As the recession continues to put the squeeze on corporate expense accounts, however, many regulars have found themselves on budgets that no longer allow for Maine lobster at $25 a pound.

The intrepid New York City restaurant has responded with a tongue-in-cheek tool at its Expense-a-Steak Headquarters. The simple form reads, "Now you can eat at Maloney & Porcelli as often as you like and never worry about your expense report raising any eyebrows. Simply type in you bill total below and the expense report generator will do the rest."

We decided to invite several colleagues for our hypothetical meal, which cost a grand total of $850. The tool instantly generated a PDF that looks like a photocopy of several receipts taped to a piece of paper.

Included are receipts for four cab rides, and a few plausibly priced meals at "Panini Experience" and "Crabapples." Sure to cause some trouble, however, is a tremendous $710.97 bill from "Office Supply Hut." Apparently, we played office manager while we were out and bought 26 cartridges of toner.

Maloney & Porcelli delivers Marketing Inspiration with its playful response to diminished expense accounts—and probably earned some first-time customers in the process. Just remember this tool has gone viral, so don't try to pull a fast one on your accounting department.

More Inspiration:
Paul Barsch: Going for Growth … in China
Elaine Fogel: James Arthur Ray: Is He a Marketing Wizard Gone Awry?
Ted Mininni: 'Simple' Sells

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  • by Catherine Fri Nov 20, 2009 via web

    I'm not sure this is marketing inspiration. In a time when we are constantly pounded by a lack of integrity in business, government, you name it -- why is faking expense reports funny? Maybe I don't understand because my company would never condone meals that expensive to bein with, but even if it did, I would avoid a restaurant that wants to make fun of being honest. I think it's in poor taste.

  • by Cathy Fri Nov 20, 2009 via web

    I think this is does take a tongue in cheek look at the reality of how the recession has impacted how we do business. The biggest reality check for me was that the prices at Maloney & Porcelli (high end NY restaurant) are typical of what you would find in any upscale restaurant in Calgary....that was a bit of an eye opener!
    Anyways...i give a positive nod to Maloney & Porcelli for having some fun with this...they made an emotional connection with their patrons and gave them something to chuckle about. This wasn't about wining new clients, it was about connecting with and keeping the ones they have.

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