We asked a few restaurateur about their value propositions. Here’s what they had to say:

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“We've always wanted to offer a unique dining experience at Contra—which is influenced by our culinary backgrounds, techniques, and local ingredients—but at the same time remain approachable. That means we start by keeping our tasting menu at a reasonable price: $67 for six to eight courses of snacks, savory dishes, and two desserts.”
--Jeremiah Stone, owner and chef, Contra (#1 in value in New York)

“Blue Plate's value is the combination of many things: we have always retained our blue collar roots (we still sell a can of Olympia for $1), so anyone can come in and get a meatloaf main course and a can of Oly and leave satisfied for $25 including tip.”
--Jeff Trenam, owner, Blue Plate (#3 in value San Francisco)

“Delivering value is a balance of the whole experience. Just on price alone, some items may be cheaper than others but charging more for that and less for a more expensive item is a unique way to create value.”
--Alejandro Morgan, executive chef, Lolinda (#9 in value in San Francisco)  

“So much of our value comes not just in the ingredients—the variety of seafood—but in the balance of tastes, which we care deeply about. Our guests can sense the value from the high-quality fish as well as from the variety of seafood incorporated in our omakase.   That will always differentiate us from our competition.”
--Mitsunori Kusakabe, CEO & chef, Kusakabe (#2 in value San Francisco

“The ingredients are always the leader for us [in delivered value]. We put a lot of focus on quality and we make sure presentation of the experience is always at the forefront.”
--Jeremiah Stone, owner and chef, Contra (#1 in value in New York)

“Hopefully guests get the impression that Blue Plate is still relevant in the evolving culinary scene. So there are comfortable dishes to satisfy primal hunger, but also new dishes, with cool, new, and trendy ingredients, presented with a lot of attention to detail and with great aesthetics.”
--Jeff Trenam, owner, Blue Plate (#3 in value San Francisco)

“We don't want our guests left feeling that they want more. And don't want away hungry. So the amount of food offered on our tasting menu is always accounted for.”
--Jeremiah Stone, owner and chef, Contra (#1 in value in New York)

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“Guests today have a better idea of cost than they did before. So it's extremely important to create value without compromising quality. Sometimes people think value is portion size but it's actually about quality of ingredients vs. portion size.”
--Alejandro Morgan, executive chef, Lolinda (#9 in value in San Francisco)

“We pursue the concept of ‘kaeseki,’ which consists of the five elements: ‘Five Colors, Five Tastes, Five Senses, Five Methods’
Five Colors: Color pallet that is visually expressed in dishes: white, black, yellow, red, green
Five Tastes: Balance of tastes throughout the course: sweet, salty, sour, bitter, spicy
Five Senses: Kaiseki cuisine aims to appeal to five senses: sense of taste, smell, vision, hearing, touch
Five Methods: Five cooking methods used to create the menu: roast, steam, fry, simmer, raw”
--Mitsunori Kusakabe, CEO & chef, Kusakabe (#2 in value San Francisco)

“When it comes to the plate, we have never been skimpy. We are all avid eaters and we certainly don't want people leaving hungry. At the same time, we hope we get portions right so that guests don't leave uncomfortably stuffed. But I think a key part of our value is that we maintain classic dishes, like the meatloaf, mac and cheese, fried chicken, yet we also have smaller plates that are little more ambitious or experimental. These dishes are not usually our top sellers, but they are vehicles to have fun. And along the way, guests don't feel like they are in a highway diner.”
--Jeff Trenam, owner, Blue Plate (#3 in value San Francisco)

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“We are trying to provide the food with traditional Japanese cooking techniques, but we try not to make it just ‘traditional Japanese cuisine’.   We are always looking for some unique brand of originality that our guests can find in each course.”
--Mitsunori Kusakabe, CEO & chef, Kusakabe (#2 in value in San Francisco)

“Guests define the value of Blue Plate by how personal this place feels to them. We have great employee retention and a robust program for recognizing and acknowledging repeat customers. We know a lot of our guests so we are able to personalize their dining experience for them. We do this while still retaining our own quirky character, so the place (I hope) feels like their little secret.”
--Jeff Trenam, owner, Blue Plate (#3 in value San Francisco)

“Guests are putting their faith in our hands and putting their trust in us to provide an exceptional meal. Through their experience they may try new things, and share that with their fellow dining companions too.”
--Jeremiah Stone, owner and chef, Contra (#1 in value in New York)