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Surge pricing coming to your favorite restaurant | Houston Chronicle

Surge pricing may come soon to a restaurant near you.

Most of us know surge pricing from ride-hailing companies that charge more for a taxi ride when ridership spikes. The idea is simple economics when demand exceeds supply, prices go up.

The higher prices, though, also shift the supply and demand curves. Higher prices encourage more drivers to enter the market, but also convince more customers to seek alternatives. Eventually, prices return to balance.

Today, computerized reservation systems allow airlines, hotels and the Houston Astros to raise or lower prices as demand changes. Restaurants with printed menus have not been able to change prices as nimbly.

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Long lines outside new restaurants reveal excess demand, but prices rarely react. New pricing strategies and technology, though, are starting to emerge.

Some fine dining restaurants have introduced an all-inclusive ticket for multicourse meals. Instead of asking for the bill at the end, you buy a ticket beforehand that covers everything, including gratuity.

The approach is a spin on the French prix fixe meal.

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Surge pricing coming to your favorite restaurant – HoustonChronicle.com.

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