Miami Spice raises rates on top restaurants, adds second pricing category

In its 11th year the Miami Spice program is getting a new look with two levels of fixed-price menus. Restaurants will fall into either a luxury or fine-dining category.

06/27/2012 5:00 AM

06/27/2012 10:45 AM

A Miami Spice meal at Miami’s top luxury restaurants isn’t going to be as much of a bargain this year.

The three-course lunch will cost $23 and dinner will run $39. That’s about a 10 percent jump over Miami Spice dinner prices last year, which rang up at $35 and just a hair over last year’s $22 lunch.

But along with raising prices, the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau on Tuesday also announced that for the first time in the dining discount program’s 11 year history, there will be two tiers of pricing. Dinner at what is being called a selection of “fine dining” restaurants will run $19 for lunch and $33 for dinner.

Restaurants are classified in either the luxury or fine-dining category. All Miami Spice menus include an appetizer, entrée and dessert as part of the fixed price, which excludes tax and gratuities. The program runs Aug. 1- Sept. 30.

The luxury category includes top names on Miami’s culinary scene, such as the hot new Juvia, db Bistro Moderne Miami, Bourbon Steak Miami, The Forge and all the restaurants at Fontainebleau Miami Beach — Scarpetta, Hakkasan and Gotham Steak. In the fine dining category are slightly less formal eateries, like Mercadito Midtown, Rosa Mexicano, City Hall, Wynwood Kitchen & Bar and Jaguar Ceviche Spoon Bar & Latin Grill.

The decision to create the two price points was an effort to both expand the Miami Spice program and address rising food costs, said Rolando Aedo, executive vice president and chief marketing officer of the GMCVB. It had been several years since the prices for Miami Spice went up.

“Miami Spice has grown so strong that restaurants told us they were at a disadvantage if they were not participating,” Aedo said. “We wanted to find a way to evolve the program to allow more restaurants in. This is also a recognition of the significant food costs these restaurants need to account for.”

While the list of participating luxury restaurants is currently the longer one, Aedo expects that at the final tally it will be about 40 percent luxury restaurants and 60 percent fine dining. Last year more than 140 restaurants participated; with the new price category, that total is expected to reach closer to 180 or 200 restaurants. For more information about participating restaurants see www.ilovemiamispice.com.

The idea of a two-tiered system is one that GMCVB has been looking at for more than a year.

“It’s a fine balancing act, based on significant research,” Aedo said. “The consumer will ultimately make the choice about what restaurants deliver the best value.”

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