Restaurant week happens so fast. The crowds rush into your restaurant, they revel in your delicious recipes for a quick three (or four) courses, they gush about your restaurant online, more crowds pile in… and then, before you even have time to finish counting all your profits, it’s all over for the year and everything returns to normal. But wait, wouldn’t you rather have the crowd-rushing of restaurant week continue for the rest of the year? Don’t you think that your restaurant (since it is the best in the known universe and that it is the delicious expression of your heart and soul) should be packed every single day?
Yeah, we think so too. Restaurant week customers around the nation share their opinions every year on how restaurants can win their undying love, and because we’re here to serve you, we read all their comments for you. It’s a lot of reading, but we wanted to make sure to give you the absolute best tips we could. During restaurant week, make sure to do these four essential things to get your restaurant week customers coming back again and again, every month of the year.
1. Maintain Your High Quality Low quality is the number one thing that restaurant week customers complain about online. Everyone hates a bad deal, and if you don’t give your restaurant week customers your best efforts, they won’t come back another week and spend more money to see what your restaurant quality is really like. We know it’s tough to offer low prices and high quality but if you don’t show off during the one most visible “week” of the year, you’ll be doomed to invisibility the rest of the year. Caramelize those onions properly and keep your plating pristine, and you’ll see your restaurant week customers become new regulars.
2. Represent Your Uniqueness Bland offerings are another top complaint that customers have about restaurant week. This is the time when those fanatic foodies finally get to experience everything that makes your restaurant fascinating but if your restaurant week menu contains dull standards that make it easiest for you to balance that price/quality equation, no one will remember you long enough to bother to return. Trade the Fettucini Alfredo for a signature dish and watch those tables keep filling throughout the year.
3. Don’t Alienate Your Regulars New signature dishes are a restaurant week must-have. Not only are they tempting offerings for curious customers, they also help you keep a good relationship with the people who have already become your regulars. Imagine two ideal diners, Mr. and Mrs. Smith. They come in every Thursday to order the same meal, and then during restaurant week you offer a discounted price on the meal that they’ve been paying top dollar for all year. Suddenly Mr. and Mrs. Smith feel like you should offer them a discount every other week of the year and when you don’t, they’ll find somewhere else to go out every Thursday night.
4. Be On Your Best Behavior Your restaurant week customers are sensitive to your service, so it pays to step it up a notch. Restaurant week gives diners the opportunity to compare subtle details among many restaurants in a very short period of time, so don’t be the restaurant that makes a bad impression. We know that sometimes restaurant week customers are rude and stingy and do terrible things–we read a horror story recently about a couple who went to a local winery during restaurant week, brought McDonald’s for their kids to eat during the meal, and “neglected” to tip their server–but we also know that sometimes, when your staff feels the stress of restaurant week, your customers can feel ignored. Try giving your staff some extra care during restaurant week so their happy mood spreads to your guests.
Remember that we said we’re here to serve you? Well, here’s one extra tip on the house that you can use to get your restaurant week customers coming back fast. Offer each table a gift certificate that expires one month from restaurant week, good for one free appetizer (and, of course, not valid during restaurant week). If you get your customers to repeat their incredible restaurant week experience soon, your restaurant will be more present in their thoughts throughout the rest of the year, and they’ll become your new regulars.
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