Steak for stakes? New york steakhouse Smith & Wollensky
has created a unique promotion to capitalize on a bankers' bonus season that is seeing less cash and more shares handed out. The steakhouse chain took out a full-page ad today
in the New York Times business section offering to trade steak dinners for diner's stock certificates. Reuters reports
that while around 50 bankers have inquired no one has redeemed their stock certificates for steaks yet. In order to get your meal you have to show up with the original stock certificates in hand. The value of the shares will be based priced on the day's closing price (for lunch, the day before's price is used). There's no such thing as a free lunch, the registered owner of the stock must surrender it to Smith & Wollensky which will add the shares to its own portfolio.
Whether or not it results in a lot of free steaks it's a neat publicity turn for the steakhouse. The witty ad took a tone of faux concern cataloging the effect of bankers receiving shares instead of cash bonuses. The ad bemoans steak and lobster left uneaten and promises they'll even take GM stock (although at less than a dollar a share, be prepared to bring quite a few shares). Although Smith & Wollensky has restaurants around the U.S.the offer is only available at the New York restaurant on Third Avenue. Smith & Wollensky has said it will accept certificates for any New York Stock Exchange or Nasdaq-listed stock. The restaurant is where Warren Buffett holds his annual auctioned-off lunch
. I wonder if this is how he's planning to pay.