Over the last decade, the restaurant week concept has found its way to communities across the United States. Conceived by restaurateur Joe Baum and Tim Zagat of the Zagat Survey, restaurant week has led to huge gains for the food and beverage industry. Some restaurants have seen as high as a 40-percent increase in customer volume during the promotional period.
Because many restaurant week customers are first-timers, this period is also the ideal time for dining establishments to capture repeat business. Ready to score some new regulars? Here’s how to wow everyone who walks through your door during restaurant week.
Land a great first impression
In Waitlist Me HQ’s hometown, Charleston, S.C., restaurant week is a twice-yearly event with additional, neighborhood-specific weeks thrown into the mix as well. Many a hidden gem have earned stand-out word-of-mouth rep thanks to excellent restaurant week showings.
Earning that sweet referral business starts the moment your guests walk through the door. Comfortable seating, warm lighting, and plenty of heated or cooled space for guests to stand upon entry are vital. If you’re planning on making any upgrades, do so before the week is set to start—and if you’re painting or doing anything odiferous, schedule your refresh with plenty of time to air out any lingering fumes.
Craft a memorable menu
One restaurant week bummer we hear about regularly is this one: Chefs create delectable special menus, but they’re devoid of house specialties that new customers are hoping to try during the promotion.
Depending on your restaurant’s price-point and the promotional restrictions enforced by your restaurant week’s organizer, it might not be possible for you to offer all the goodies that are must-haves for your regular menu. We encourage you to try to find a way to bring popular picks to this more limited menu, too. Appetizer portions and tasting platters are two possible ways to make this happen.
Get the word out early
Large-scale community events are typically coordinated by a local chamber of commerce or another business-oriented organization. For restaurant weeks, food and wine festivals, and other tasty opportunities, these orgs tend to put together event guides or listings. To maximize your customer volume, it’s essential that your business be included in these publications.
Figuring out what you need to do to get your restaurant on the map, so to speak, is a cinch. Some tech-savvy chambers will offer orientation-style information online for restaurant owners and managers. However, you can always call your chamber to find out what information you need to send to the right people. Remember, they’re there to help!
Upgrade your customer service tech
Of all the bad times to have a waitlist snafu, restaurant week is one of the worst. We created Waitlist Me so that your restaurant doesn’t have to worry about getting your guests from your waiting area to your dining room; our tech helps you quote more accurate times and prevent walkaways.
Waitlist Me is a simple waitlist and reservation app that you can implement today. With a single glance, your host can see how many people are in line, how long they’ve been waiting, and when they’ll make it to their table. You can also easily add our web widget to your restaurant’s website and let your customers hop in line from wherever they are.