Trying to Buy a Review

I’ve now received two emails to take the “Bonefish Grill Challenge,” where I’ll get a $25 gift certificate to Bonefish Grill and a $25 American Express gift card to use at any other restaurant.  I’m then supposed to write about both experiences in a head-to-head format.  Wow.  I’m not sure if this is a brilliant marketing device or an act of desperation.  It’s completely legitimate, as there are a number of other bloggers who have done this.  Here’s one.  At least they require the bloggers to disclose the consideration paid by Bonefish

I’ve never eaten at a Bonefish Grill, and after receiving this bit of enticement, I’m even less likely to give them a try.  I absolutely, positively won’t be bought.  Well, I won’t be bought for 50 bucks, that is.

Here’s a graphic from the email:

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6 Responses to Trying to Buy a Review

  1. dmccall says:

    I really don’t get the Bonefish thing. They do a whopping business, though. They have a huge retiree following, so the place starts filling up at 4p, then when they are all cycled thru, a hoard of young people comes in, so they are getting, probably, 4 turns on every table just about every night. It blows my mind, but then again, I’m not a seafood fan, so I’m not the best judge.

  2. Dave says:

    I went there for a work function, and it was “ok”, much like an Outback (which is owned by the same company) would be “ok”. Not memorable, but not terrible.

    I have no principles, though, and would totally take the loot, eat at Bonefish and then use the $25 to pay for part of a meal at a really good place (like the prix fixe lunch @Herons across the street in Cary, for example), and then compare the two in a review. I mean, a free meal is a free meal, and they’re not actually telling you to write a good review.

  3. dmwcpa says:

    I have been to Bonefish (North Hills)once, about five years ago. I have not been back. To me it was a waste of time and calories.

  4. Chris says:

    I agree with Dave plus a little more. I’ve eaten there more than a few times because the food is reliably good (not great, but I think better than “ok”). And honestly, it is harder to find reliably good seafood than it is to find a reliably good steak. Most of the food doesn’t feel too “processed” (although the Bang Bang Shrimp are an over-the-top guilty fried with an over-processed sauce pleasure), the dining rooms have a slightly upscale but not overproduced feel to them, and the service is usually above par for chain restaurants.

    On the other hand, this “Challenge” puts me off. They know you will feel better about their restaurant having just made a cool $50 to eat out and write about it.

    Also, Dave, what’s the deal with the prix fixe lunch at Heron’s? All I see online is a 70 dollar tasting menu at dinner.

  5. willhm says:

    I think you should do it. It is a perfect chance to highlight one of the numerous local establishments that are exceedingly better than bonefish grill, i can think of plenty right off the top of my head that are in the same price point as bonefish: J. Betskis, 18 seaboard, globe, thaiphoon, sawasdee, buku, coquette, porter’s, poole’s, market, busy bee, hayes barton, 5 star, humble pie, oakwood cafe, zely & ritz and don’t even get started on chapel hill and durham.

  6. rachel schwartz says:

    Chris – check out the Market Menu online on herons website, that’s what Dave is talking about. 3 courses at lunch for $20.

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