Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Local Diner Gets Creative & Lets Patrons Name Their Price

Times are tough all across the country, but particularly in Detroit. Some choose to focus on the negativity and dwell on all the bad things happening in Detroit and its surrounding suburbs. Others (the smarter ones in my opinion) refuse to sulk in their sorrows and instead figure out a way to counteract the Detroit doldrums.

Many local companies and restaurants are heavily discounting prices in order to attract customers. Some are encouraging consumers to spend their money at Michigan-based establishments in hopes of boosting the local economy. Still others are attempting to raise the spirits of metro Detroit residents by coming up with wildly creative ideas like the 240-hour "Assembly Line" show at AJ's Music Cafe in Ferndale.

One local blink-and-you'll-miss-it diner grabs the top prize in creativity when it comes to easing the burden of these rough times. Now through March 27 from 4 p.m. - 8 p.m., the Whistle Stop Restaurant and Bakery in Birmingham is letting patrons name their price for dinner. Risky? Absolutely! But worth testing the waters? Definitely yes in my opinion. Plus, this promotion has garnered the Whistle Stop a heap of media exposure (with the help of a local PR pro of course). So if nothing else, it's helped create awareness of this establishment and that owner Matt Rafferty truly cares about helping those affected by the economy.

I really admire Matt's faith in metro Detroit citizens and his willingness to put his business on the line for five days, so MAL and I headed over to this quaint little joint for dinner tonight. It was small with a very welcoming atmosphere. Good Morning America once named the Whistle Stop as America's Best Diner, so we knew it HAD to be good!

While we were waiting for a seat, the couple ahead of us asked Matt how the promotion was going. It didn't sound like the promotion was going as well as Matt had hoped, especially when he referred to haughty men in their snazzy business suits who left nothing more than $1 for their meal. But, he knew it was a risk and noted that "it's been interesting so far."

As evidenced by the photo above, MAL and I decided to go the breakfast-for-dinner route, and we were more than satisfied by the generous portions and delicious food. The price was extremely reasonable and actually a bit less than what I would have expected. I liked that our server gave us our bill so we could see what the entire meal actually would cost us on a normal occasion. We paid a bit more than the actual price, but we are also both employed. While I don't expect everyone to pay above and beyond, I am embarrassed for anyone who dares to step foot in that establishment and leave a petty dollar for those hard-working employees.

A huge pat on the back goes out to the entire Whistle Stop team for coming up with a not-so-traditional way to give back to the community!


B.B. said...

That's so great... I hope it works for them, and that place sounds yummy! Maybe we will have to try it when we 'vacation' in Detroit. :) Can't wait!

metrogal84 said...

I didn't realize GMA named it best diner, now I've def got to try this place...if anything, just to make up for the a-holes who barely gave them any $! Great post, ikkin!