Restaurant Week is returning across the country, and with that also comes a fresh opportunity, as diners are returning to restaurants with excitement and new expectations.
The event celebrates another year of connecting hungry guests with discounted meals at restaurants all over the country, and 2022 is shaping up to be a different experience than in years past. Restaurants continue to face labor and supply chain issues, plus rising food costs. And while these challenges may seem daunting, the solutions and benefits are plenty.
With deep roots in the restaurant industry, we’ve worked with our clients to test a number of strategies to take on Restaurant Week as an opportunity to attract new customers. The best solutions always put the focus on providing a fulfilling end-to-end experience for both your your customers and your staff. Here are our five favorite Restaurant Week strategies you can use to do Restaurant Week “the right way” and how to start implementing them today.
Review and Revise Your Menu Offerings
Before Restaurant Week kicks off, craft a menu that is friendly to both your bottom line and your customers. Guests have lots of options when it comes to Restaurant Week, so be sure to make a good impression with a menu that makes your restaurant stand out: think best sellers, unique flavors, and creative dishes. This way, you can encourage guests to return when your menu isn’t discounted while also encouraging employee retention by showcasing your kitchen team’s talents and creativity.
While having a special menu for Restaurant Week is important, so is keeping your bottom line in check. Consider how profitable and scalable your special menu items are with a cost/benefit analysis to ensure you’ll break even or come out ahead when the week is over. This can be done by calculating your restaurant’s food cost percentage and cost of each dish using reports and data that an integrated point-of-sale can provide.
Offer Easy Online Ordering
Consumer behaviors are changing rapidly, but there’s one thing you can count on: online ordering. And that’s not different during Restaurant Week. Reach guests choosing to order-in by creating a Restaurant Week takeout menu—all you need is online ordering technology that enables you to pace and fulfill to-go orders while also serving a full dining room (providing you with two revenue streams).
Keep things running smoothly by using an integrated point-of-sale system that allows you to do everything in one place. Restaurant tech has come a long way in the last few years, and can now do it all, including throttling online orders, communicating accurate pickup times to customers, providing contactless payment and ordering options like QR codes, and so much more.
It’s important to note that not all online ordering platforms are created equal. Some third-party platforms will hoard your customer data, while others may charge up to 30% in commissions per order (and some even do both). So, consider switching to a direct online ordering platform that lets you own the entire customer experience, build stronger relationships with customers, and avoid costly third-party fees.
Be In Charge of Your Own Marketing
Increase reservations at your restaurant and excitement around Restaurant Week by communicating to your customers using multiple platforms. From email and text to social media marketing, let your customer base know you’re participating in Restaurant Week and what kind of discounts you will be offering. This will help ensure you’re meeting your customers where they are and that your kitchen will be running at full capacity.
But don’t stop there. Be sure to proactively reach out to event organizers to ensure you’re included with any promotional opportunities like media interviews, cooking demos, and more.
Attract and Retain Guests with a Loyalty Program
The best way to keep new and returning guests coming back is to give them an incentive. Restaurant week helps new guests discover your restaurant, making this is a great opportunity to turn these first-time guests into regulars. And one of the easiest ways to do that is by implementing or reinvigorating a loyalty rewards program. Following the pandemic, fine dining and table service restaurants are embracing loyalty programs now more than ever. Loyalty programs are a win-win for restaurants and guests: restaurants are able to capture guest data, and guests get rewarded for visiting your restaurant (which, in turn, creates loyal customers). So be sure you’re continually putting energy (and money) towards your loyalty program so both parties can benefit.
Do More with Less with Technology
If there’s ever a time you need to do more with less, it’s Restaurant Week. Serve more guests than usual with tech options. Easy-to-use handheld POS devices can help you ensure order accuracy, turn tables faster, and improve throughput.
But don’t stop there, easily streamline kitchen operations with Kitchen Display System (KDS) and turn more tables with QR code ordering. Not only will these easy additions ensure your staff is on top of orders, but they will also enable guests to pay and place orders whenever they’re ready using their phones.
So, what are you waiting for? Add tech to your restaurant operations just in time for Restaurant Week and you’re sure to have a successful experience.