Driving Traffic with Restaurant Week

 In Build Awareness, Drive Traffic, Drive Trial, Planning

Next week, over 200 restaurants in Washington, D.C. will be participating in Restaurant Week in Washington, D.C.. By offering a 3-course lunch for $20.15 or a 3-course dinner for $35.15 until January 25, participation in Restaurant Week opens their marketing doors (literally and figuratively) to a new segment of customers. Plus, with the usual post-holiday slump in sales that many restaurants experience, participation can be a way to increase sales and drive traffic to your restaurant.

In fact, that’s exactly why Restaurant Week started in New York City in 1992 – to encourage customers to dine out after the holiday season. Since then, Restaurant Week has spread to major cities all over the U.S., and is usually organized by area restaurant associations or chambers of commerce.

Pros of Restaurant Week

By offering customers a pre-fixe menu, restaurants are able to accommodate a higher volume of customers every day, since the kitchen is preparing the same 3 or 4 items per table. This usually allows them to turn a profit even while offering a discounted meal. Plus, an affordable pre-fixe menu often drives traffic and trial from new customers that may become loyal customers.

Cons of Restaurant Week

While the benefits seem obvious, Restaurant Week is not without its critics! Some restaurants or chefs refuse to participate, as they don’t want to compromise their kitchen or service standards, deal with online reservations or pay the fees associated with participation. Additionally, some customers avoid restaurants during Restaurant Week, as they know they’ll be faced with long wait times or a compromised menu or experience.

Marketing with Restaurant Week: Right for you?

It’s clear that folks on both sides of the kitchen are divided about their feelings on Restaurant Week. We think that, as a restauranteur, you have to decide what is best for your business and your brand. If you feel that participating would drum up business during an otherwise slow period, and your team can work without compromising your brand or standards, Restaurant Week might be a great marketing activity for you!

What do you think? Have you participated in Restaurant Week before? Did it help your business and marketing efforts? Let us know in the comments section below!

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