Why You Should Participate in Local Restaurant Weeks
During the months of January-March, you are bound to find a Restaurant Week happening throughout the Bay Area.
San Francisco Restaurant Week was January 22-31, Oakland Restaurant Week was January 13-20, Napa Restaurant Week was January 26-February 1st and Sonoma County Restaurant Week starts Friday and runs through March 1.
Initially started in NYC to get people into restaurants during the slower months, Restaurant Weeks across the nation have helped boost long term traffic and bolstered tourism.
Now many are operated through local tourism or restaurant groups that leverage their local partnerships and resources to promote and market the event and its participating restaurants. While being an involved restaurant does take planning, extra work, strategic purchasing, etc, by participating you show support to your local community, expose your business to additional potential customers and help grow awareness both now and in the long term.
To take part in your local restaurant week, you will need to get ahead of it. If you haven’t already started following the event organizer via social media or signed up to be part of their mailing list, do that now. That way you can make sure you don’t miss deadlines.
A couple of months beforehand you will need to fill out the proper paperwork, confirm your menu and price points and submit any marketing materials the event organizer needs. Make sure to send over quality photos, hi-res logos and detailed descriptions of what makes your Restaurant Week menus special. Keep in mind, the list of restaurants will be long, so make sure your information grabs attention and stands out from the crowd.
The event organizer will put this information on their website which users will peruse to see who is participating and what kind of specials they will will be providing.
When it comes to figuring out what you will be offering, you will most likely have to work within a specific price fixed range with a select number of courses. What tends to work the best is featuring items that have been on the menu for limited time but are specialty items that don’t sit on the menu year round. That way you might already be familiar with the recipe and the items you need to carry, thus creating less purchasing headache.
Another option is to feature items on your current menu at a promotional price. This is a way to get people in that have been wanting to try your food and this appealing price point allows them to finally experience your business and thus ensuring repeat visits.
No matter which way you decide to go on the menu, make sure you customer service is on point. This could be your chance for many first impressions. Not only should the food be A+ but the service should be too. Getting ahead of the planning of the week in advance and having enough time to meet with your kitchen and waitstaff to ensure they know about the speciality menus and are well versed, is absolutely essential to avoid hiccups.
Don’t just rely on the event organizer to promote your restaurant week, take to your e-mail list and social media channels and share! Tease with photos leading up to the event. You put a lot of work into this week, you should put a lot of work helping spread the word too.
If you have materials you would like to put up at your location showing your speciality menus, go ahead. You can also add any materials the event organizer creates as well.
At the very end, remember its only a week-ish and just have fun.