Restaurant Week: How to Gain New Customers and Boost Revenue

A vast, community-wide event like Restaurant Week can be the perfect push to start 2022 successfully. Undoubtedly, it has become a community favorite across the country. Consumers are attracted by the promise of discounted meals at their favorite restaurants, as well as new and trending ones. Meanwhile, operators get the opportunity to grow their customer databases and turn new customers into loyal regulars. All that said, grappling with supply chain and labor shortages and with an imperative to keep everyone safe continues to put restaurant operators in a tough position. 

Thankfully, using the right technology the right way can help you do more with less to elevate your guest experience and improve profit margins. Here is your 2022 guide for a successful Restaurant Week. 

Take Advantage of Technology

Oftentimes, the best solution isn’t as elusive as we think, and that’s certainly the case with new restaurant tech designed to enable you to do more with less. For example, a handheld POS device will allow you to turn tables faster, improve order accuracy, and speed up service. And the numbers don't lie: at SpotOn, our restaurant clients found that by adding three handheld devices, they can serve 5+ additional tables per day. With an average check of $40, that could be up to $70,000 in new revenue without adding a dime in additional labor costs. 

And that's not all. A kitchen display system (KDS) can significantly improve your operations by digitally routing orders to the kitchen and then tracking them. So if you have to deal with bigger crowds, your staff can easily manage the queues of orders, personalize staff alerts, and more. 

Go Digital

Restaurant Week is all about creating great food experiences, and in the pandemic era, this means branching out from the old dine-in-only norms and offering attractive takeout options. 

Restaurant Week is all about creating great food experiences, and in the pandemic era, this means branching out from the old dine-in-only norms and offering attractive takeout options. 

A direct digital online ordering platform can help boost efficiency in several ways. First of all, customers prefer ordering directly from a restaurant, not only because they feel better knowing they are supporting them directly, but because it’s easier. If a customer searches for a restaurant and finds their website, all the better is that they can place their order once something delicious catches their eye.

To mitigate the “feast” part of the “feast or famine” conundrum that can intimidate owners and operators who are considering offering online ordering, pacing features allow you to control the number of online orders your restaurant can fulfill in a given time frame by setting parameters that set you up for success.

Additionally, by transparently communicating with guests about the status of their order and pickup times, it’s easier to keep guests happy. Finding tech that integrates with third-party platforms while you transition to a direct online ordering platform also allows you to begin training customers to order from you directly without missing any opportunities along the way. 

With the right online/mobile ordering solution, you’ll not only streamline this process but also avoid costly third-party delivery commissions and own your own guest data—helping you maintain lasting relationships year-round, not just during Restaurant Week. 

Don't forget QR codes. From working with fewer staff to taking into consideration guest desire for contactless options, QR codes make ordering and paying easy. All guests have to do is scan a QR code at the table or even from a sandwich board while waiting in line, to place an order, add an appetizer, order another drink, and then pay wherever they’re ready, whenever they are ready. 

Optimize Your Menu

Creating a menu that is attractive to both customers and your bottom line will allow you to stand out from other restaurants. Be sure to include your best sellers, long-time favorites, and everything else that makes your restaurant unique. This way, you can make a memorable first impression to keep them coming back after Restaurant Week. 

Also, this can be an opportunity to show appreciation for your staff. Allow them to display their talents and creativity and let them contribute a dish to the menu. You can even make it into a contest. 

Finally, don't forget your bottom line. Think of profitable and scalable offerings for larger-than-usual crowds. Do you know your restaurant's food cost percentage and each dish's plate cost? If not, calculating the cost/benefit of menu items may be a great starting point when planning for Restaurant Week. Take a dive into your point-of-sale reporting data and learn what works and what doesn't. Factoring in, too, rising food costs so you are working with the ingredients that make the most sense. The right technology tool for your restaurant will have all your costs and sales in one place and will be able to break it down by ingredient, as well. 

Reward Your Loyal Customers

A loyalty program enables you to increase your profits by motivating your customers to come more often, and Restaurant Week gives you the perfect opportunity to dramatically grow your customer list. Does your loyalty program need a refresh? Update your incentives for the week. For example, offer a new reward with enrollment. This allows you to translate each Restaurant Week order into a chance to capture customer information and insights to stay connected and offer tailored incentives. In this way, you can turn one-time crowds into long-term, loyal customers. 

Keep in Touch and Engage Your Guests

Take an omnichannel marketing approach to ensure you are getting discovered where your customers are. Use email, text messaging, and social media to let your current customers know you are participating in Restaurant Week. Attract new customers and expand your social media reach using event hashtags, official logos, and materials. And don’t forget to be proactive and connect with event organizers to ensure you're on the list for any promotional opportunities like media interviews, cooking demos, etc. 

Being a restaurant owner comes with a unique set of challenges. You're managing employees, finances, compliance, and many other pieces of the business. Restaurant Week presents a unique opportunity for you to reach audiences new and old, and stoke their passion for your restaurant. With these strategies, support from your staff, and the right technology, you can turn the week into a roaring success that pays dividends far into the future.