Why Restaurants Keep Selling $1 Oysters When They Don't Make Any Money On Them

OystersShutterstockA tray of freshly shucked oysters on ice.

If you live near either of the American coasts, there’s a good chance you’ve seen both pubs and fine restaurants offer $US1 oysters as the workday draws to a close.

And you might have asked yourself, just a dollar? What’s the catch?

Even if you grab them at a dive bar, there’s no need to be too suspicious about the freshness or quality of these cheap items usually associated with luxury.

They’re just to get you in the door, New York magazine writes in its latest restaurant business feature.

“We make no money on them, but people buy beer, they buy wine, they buy assorted appetizers,” Ian MacGregor, owner of the Lobster Place and Cull & Pistol in Manhattan, tells New York.

MacGregor has found that an increasing number of establishments have used oysters as a loss leader since the recession. They’re attractive to both customers and proprietors because they offer anyone a slice of the high life and they’re easy to serve.

“They keep well, turn out consistently, and require little labour,” Esca owner Dave Pasternack tells New York.

Your dollar won’t buy you one of the finest oysters in the world, but you’ll get something decent that’s abundant in your area, like Bluepoints if you’re a New Yorker.

And if you’d like your favourite after-work spot to keep offering these cheap bivalves, it may help to order a beer or two.

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