Restaurant week returns across the country, and with it also comes a new opportunity, as diners return to restaurants with excitement and new expectations.
The event celebrates another year of connecting hungry guests with discounted meals at restaurants across the country, and 2022 is shaping up to be a different experience than years past. Restaurants continue to face labor and supply chain issues, as well as rising food costs. And while these challenges may seem daunting, the solutions and benefits are many.
With deep roots in the restaurant industry, we have worked with our customers to test a number of strategies to make Restaurant Week an opportunity to attract new customers. The best solutions always focus on delivering a fulfilling end-to-end experience for your customers and staff. Here are our five favorite Restaurant Week strategies you can use to organize Restaurant Week “the right way” and how to start implementing them today.
Review and revise your menu offerings
Before restaurant week begins, develop a menu that suits both your bottom line and your customers. Customers have many options when it comes to Restaurant Week, so be sure to make an impression with a menu that sets your restaurant apart: think best-sellers, unique flavors and creative dishes. This way, you can encourage guests to return when your menu isn’t reduced while encouraging employee retention by showcasing the talents and creativity of your kitchen team.
While it’s important to have a special restaurant week menu, it’s important to keep your results under control. Consider how profitable and scalable your special menu items are with a cost/benefit analysis to ensure you’ll break even or come out a winner when the week is over. This can be done by calculating the percentage of your restaurant’s food cost and the cost of each dish using reports and data that an integrated POS can provide.
Offer easy online ordering
Consumer behaviors are changing rapidly, but there’s one thing you can count on: online ordering. And it’s no different during restaurant week. Reach customers who choose to order by creating a restaurant week take-out menu. All you need is online ordering technology that allows you to pace and process takeout orders while serving a full dining room (giving you two streams of income).
Keep things running smoothly by using an integrated POS system that lets you do everything in one place. Restaurant technology has come a long way over the past few years and can now do it all, including limiting online orders, communicating exact pick-up times to customers, providing payment and ordering options contactless like QR codes, and more.
It is important to note that not all online ordering platforms are created equal. Some third-party platforms will accumulate your customer data, while others may charge up to 30% commission per order (and some even do both). So consider moving to an online direct ordering platform that lets you own the entire customer experience, build stronger customer relationships, 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 with your customers using multiple platforms. From emails and texts to social media marketing, let your customers know you’re participating in Restaurant Week and what kind of discounts you’ll be offering. This will help ensure that you are 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 are included in all promotional opportunities such as media interviews, cooking demonstrations, etc.
Attract and retain your customers with a loyalty program
The best way to retain new and returning customers is to give them an incentive. Restaurant Week helps new customers learn about your restaurant, making it a great opportunity to turn those new customers into regulars. And one of the easiest ways to do that is to implement or reinvigorate a loyalty rewards program. In the wake of the pandemic, fine dining and table service restaurants are embracing loyalty programs more than ever. Loyalty programs are a win-win for restaurants and customers: restaurants are able to capture customer data and customers are rewarded for visiting your restaurant (which, in turn, creates loyal customers ). So make sure that you continually invest energy (and money) in your loyalty program so that both parties can benefit.
Do more with less with technology
If there’s a time when you need to do more with less, it’s Restaurant Week. Serve more guests than usual with technology options. Easy-to-use, handheld point-of-sale 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 that your staff are aware of orders, but they will also allow customers to pay and place orders as soon as they are ready to use their phone.
So what are you waiting for? Add technology to your restaurant operations just in time for Restaurant Week and you’re sure to have a successful experience.