Smart marketing - it overcomes resistance to trying something new by giving people an irresistible offer. It increases the restaurant's gravity.
It worked for me - I went!
But sometimes marketing isn't enough - if the product is not up to scratch.
The food was fine - not great, but good enough for the price. But the rest of the restaurant's execution was poor: terrible lighting, ugly furniture, bare walls, a sweaty waiter in jeans, a smell of drains at the doorway, and shouting coming from the kitchen.
On top of that, the restaurant missed huge opportunities to increase income per customer: not offering us drinks, coffee or dessert, not taking our addresses or emails (or birthdays) to keep in touch.
All in all, instead of amazing and delighting us, the restaurant disappointed.
We won't be back, and, sadly, I doubt it will be open come January.
So while it was a great marketing idea to provide the first meal at a loss, it's a terrible idea to offer such a bad experience that clients won't come back. It's just throwing money away.
Marketing is vital. But so is the product.