Marketing Tricks

Location:Die Alm
Address:Dorfstraße 19, 6450 Sölden
Status:Open (last checked on 12 August 2023)
Eaten:"Ofenfrische Sparribs" with apple-BBQ marinade, corn on a cob, small mixed salad, small beer (Veltins), two ¼ Grüner Veltliner, 1/8 red wine (Cuvee), Zirbenschnapps, an espresso

Sölden is a very touristic place. I am sure I am going to write more about that in my future posts, but for now simply bear in mind: if you are looking for a quiet and remote alpine getaway, look elsewhere. I can imagine how busy and noisy this village becomes in winter. In summer, it’s OK, but some of the facilities are closed, and the others operate only half-heartedly, lacking in both staff and motivation. As a clever marketing move, should you stay in one of the larger hotels in the area, you automatically receive a “summer card,” which makes a lot of attractions, particularly cable cars, free of charge.

Of course, if something becomes free, something else needs to compensate for the loss, and in Solden’s case, it’s the restaurants. They are seriously expensive, and Die Alm is not an exception. In its case, however, I have discovered an anomaly that is nothing short of astonishing.

You see, the basic rules of pricing say that two halves of something must cost more than the whole. If you order a liter of beer straight away you naturally expect to pay less than if you order two half-liter mugs successively. In Die Alm, on the other hand, a quarter of white wine costs 9 euros, while a bottle (consisting of three quarters) costs 30. I could not help thinking of the reasoning behind that pricing decision all the time through eating the spare ribs (beautifully misspelled as “sparrips” in the menu).

The ribs in Die Alm come with three different marinades, which is normally not a good sign. What this usually means is that the marinade gets applied to the spare ribs just before they are warmed up and served. I am sure this is exactly what had happened in Die Alm’s case, but the result was must better than I had expected. The apple-barbecue marinade (whatever that was) felt like an integral part of the ribs rather than an afterthought.

Sadly, the meat was not fantastic. Clearly pre-cooked, it was not cooked long enough and, while not raw at any rate, occasionally made weird noises between my teeth because of the remaining fat. The marinade made it taste very acceptable, though, and dipping it into the red “sweet chili” sauce made the taste better still. The sauce was extremely industrial, but in this case, it was a blessing. Not so was the creamy white sauce that tasted like something one would use to help oneself after eating an extremely spicy Indian dish. I had expected something with a lot of garlic, but it was, essentially, a yoghurt.    

The potion was relatively small, but not expensive by itself. The price, however, only covered the ribs themselves and not the sides like the corn on the cob or the mixed salad. Still, when asking for the bill, I could not resist enquiring about the wine price “anomaly.” “It’s a marketing decision of the boss,” – the waiter replied, adding that one of the red wines on the menu was actually very rare and good, and priced very reasonably despite the fact that the restaurant only had six bottles of it left.

Needless to say, I had to try the special wine at that point. It was good and almost worth its six euros price tag for a 1/8 liter glass. Later on, however, I googled the name and found that a six-pack of the same wine cost just under 50 euros. Which means that I brought Die Alm 500% profit. Talk about marketing tricks.

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