SM3 Top Three: Restaurant Week Edition

Does your restaurant participate in Restaurant Week? If not, you’re missing out on a great opportunity to market your restaurant to a whole new crowd of hungry guests. Restaurant Week can be as highly anticipated as Valentine’s Day or New Year’s for your patrons, so it’s important to approach  the season with the correct mindset. We’ve asked two of SM3’s top minds to explain the whys and hows of marketing for Restaurant Week.

Why participate?

KiraSM3’s Kira Clayborne always encourages her clients to put together a restaurant campaign. The benefits to your restaurants’ visibility can be a huge boon to your bottom line. Here are her top three reasons to get on the Restaurant Week bandwagon.

  • Drive sales during slow times.  Restaurant Week is usually scheduled for slow months, such as January or August. The prospect of a discounted prix fixe menu will get new guests in the door when you are most in need of sales.
  • Acquire new guests. With a properly planned marketing campaign, you can drive multiple visits out of your Restaurant Week patrons. For guests, Restaurant Week is a chance to try something new and traditionally out of their price range. Be sure to get their email address while they’re in the restaurant so you can hook them again and again.
  • Raise Awareness.  Participating in Restaurant Week is a great way to raise awareness and buzz.  It is especially helpful for marketing new restaurants.  It’s also an opportunity to tap into the foodie community, as foodies typically patronize multiple restaurants during Restaurant Week.

How Can I Optimize Performance with Marketing?

Now that you know the “why”s, it’s time to share some best practices on maximizing performance during the crucial restaurant Week sales period. Luckily Roxana Elliott knows how to optimize the marketing strategy for Restaurant Week events across the country. Here’s her advice.

  • RoxanaPromote Early and Often.  Promote your prix fixe Restaurant Week menu weeks ahead of time across your social media and email fan clubs to push reservations.   Remind guests this is a great opportunity for a double date night, girls or guys night, or special family dinner out.
  • Use OpenTable and Local News.   Make sure your restaurant is listed on OpenTable’s SEO optimized webpage about Restaurant Week.   With the OpenTable – Fishbowl integration, when guests opt into your mailing list, those email addresses will automatically be added to your Fishbowl database.  It’s also a good idea to contact your local newspaper to make sure your restaurant is listed as participating in Restaurant Week on any editorial pieces they may be running about the event.
  • Take Advantage of a Check-In Special.  Create a Foursquare check-in special to notify guests that it is Restaurant Week.   With Foursquare’s new push notifications for iPhone and Android devices, guests with those types of smartphones will be notified automatically when they’re in or near your restaurant.


Restaurant Week has come a long way since its inception in 1992. Most major cities and even smaller suburbs have some kind of restaurant Week once or even twice a year. Take advantage and drive sales for your business!

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