Forget Your Troubles, Come On Get Happy

Forget Your Troubles, Come On Get Happy

The financial crisis has many restaurants recalibrating their value propositions, but it's trickier to do in some segments than in others. Consider the challenge faced by San Francisco's Supperclub, where customers recline in Roman-style beds while enjoying a fine-dining dinner, off-the-wall live entertainment and dancing, all for one set price. What do you do to keep an operation like this in high gear during a recession? It's an all-or-nothing proposition, because there's no a la carte business.

The answer: trim prices, naturally, to the point where a night at Supperclub can now be had at, considering the contents of the all-inclusive package, a bargain-basement price. It's good if you're a consumer, but bad news if you're a competitor.

The big key for this place: keeping its substantial cool factor while becoming more affordable. Their formula: creative contemporary food from chef Guus Wickenhagen ($35 for a three-course menu on Tuesday, $55 for four courses the rest of the week); “Burning Man-like high jinx” as entertainment while people drink and dine (an operatic diva one night, a tight- rope walker the next); and a post-dessert dance session under the direction of house DJs.

For customers, it's a cheap-yet-cool night out no matter how perilous their personal cash flow has become. For competitors, Supperclub's setting a high standard for a value proposition here; get ready for others like it as long as the recession holds on.