5 Tips on How to Win Restaurant Week

It's that time of the year again, Summer Restaurant Week 2016! Fresh faces flock to the hottest neighborhood spots, eager to sample the best dishes and discover what your restaurant is all about.

In an effort to better understand DC eaters, as well as paths of success for our DC Restaurants, Venga has analyzed data from last year's Summer Restaurant Week in Washington DC. Check out our five tips for how your restaurant can win Restaurant Week 2016. 

PUT YOUR BEST FOOT FORWARD

Restaurants who participated in Restaurant Week 2015 saw 104% more reservations from first-time diners. To make sure these first-time diners become regulars at your restaurant, offer a menu that’s delicious and consistent with your regular menu, and have your best staff make a spectacular impression on Restaurant Week guests. Come up with a follow-up strategy and other post-meal touch points that will get those guests back in your door.

The numbers show that making a great impression pays off: Restaurant Week guests are 12% more likely to return compared to other weeks. Not to mention, welcoming Restaurant Week guests with finesse pays off: participating restaurants enjoyed a 36% increase in total revenue during Restaurant Week, and a 46% increase in total covers.

START EARLY

More guests book in advance for Restaurant Week - 57% booked at least 24 hours in advance compared to 50% during other times, so get on their radar early so they choose you. Promote your Restaurant Week experience with email campaigns and social media outreach.

This is also a great opportunity to welcome back old guests you haven’t seen in a while. Guests who have not visited your restaurant in a long time are likely to return for Restaurant Week, as our data shows that the time since repeat guests’ last visit is 13% longer during Restaurant Week than during other weeks.

KEEP A WAITLIST

No-shows run about average during restaurant week, but cancellations are more common: 30% of reservations made for restaurant week are cancelled, compared to 24% during the periods before and after. Remember to call your guests and confirm the day before or the day of the reservation, and keep a waitlist of your call-in requests to fill last-minute spots.

Prepare for date night

Many couples see restaurant week as a great time to have a date night. Party sizes are slightly smaller during restaurant week: 54% of reservations are for two-tops, versus 50% during other times. Arrange your dining room with plenty of seating for these incoming smaller parties.

UPGRADE ME

Despite decreased Restaurant Week prices, guests typically end up spending the same amount as they normally would dining in your restaurant. Venga statistics show that a  bigger proportion of the check is spent on food even with a prix-fixe menu. Offer add-ons or premium appetizers to your Restaurant Week menu to maximize each guest's hunger for more.