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Restaurant Week List - "It's Different This Year"


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Here's the list of restaurants I'll be avoiding this week.

Customers hate restaurants this week because they suck!

Restaurants hate customers this week because they suck!

Use this thread to:

1) List derogatory statements made by customers (paying $20.12 for a three-course lunch, $35.12 for a three-course dinner) expecting a first-class experience from overcrowded restaurants with overworked staff serving low-cost food.

2) List derogatory statements made by restaurants (willingly paying $500 to participate in restaurant week + annual dues to RAMW) expecting first-class customers when the whole point of this "lure" is for people to be cheap and save money.

Facebook is a fine tool for these types of things.

Restaurant Week: It's a lose-lose situation for everyone. Then again ... why do customers keep coming? why do restaurants pay $500 to participate?

Hmm ...

Enjoy, everyone! And I'll catch y'all on the back side.

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There are still some restaurants that do RW right...and $20.12 for a three course lunch at some of these restaurants is a deal (Bibiana or The Oval Room for example)...$35.12 for dinner is not worth it except for maybe at some of the very high end restaurants on the list. $35.12 for 4 course + dessert at Zaytinya...that's what 4 course + dessert at Zaytinya would normally cost you!

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There are still some restaurants that do RW right

You know ... I'm not convinced of the argument that there ever was a "right" way to do Restaurant Week. I've been hearing this for years. Restaurant Week is nothing more, and has never been anything more, than a sales gimmick to attract customers during a slow time - nothing wrong with that, of course, but I don't view it as some kind of "sacred obligation" on the part of a restaurant any more than a 50% off mattress sale should be construed as something holy and time-honored.

(My post, even though grounded in truth, was largely intended to be taken in good humor.)

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Grover and I approach RW as a way to audition venues we don't normally patronize. We go and sample the food (let's face it, it's not going to be A list, but it should give an inkling of what to expect), we watch the way the staff handles the "tired, poor, the huddled masses" and the pressure of performing for people who don't know a fish fork from a fondue pot, we treat it as opening night at off-off Broadway. We've added a couple of restaurants, we've eliminated a couple of possibles. So we end up spending roughly $100, we have dinner with a show and we go home fed. Nothing wrong with that. It's better than Applebees, it's more fun than a trainwreck to watch, and we explore a possible new addition to the restaurant rotation.

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I don't go much anymore, but while in law school or working downtown, I did. I will tell you why I like restaurant week: 1. Our friends from Fairfax will actually come into the city 2. I can try out some restaurants I have never been to, but aren't on top list and see if I should come back and add them to that list. 3. When I worked in downtown (and will prob do this for Alex RW) I ate a little nicer lunches than I normally would.

But inevitably the drawbacks have now outweighed the positive aspects, and I think as I have gotten older, I enjoy crowds of people less and less. (For example when we host out of towners and go to the Smithsonians on peak days I have to will myself not just to run out the door and go home.) I will take some crowds- ball games, concerts, packed restaurants sometimes, but signing up for a crowded restaurant is hard anymore unless I REALLY want to go. And we eat out so much because of how busy we both are at work that I think it has less appeal.

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Amex deposits the first two days are at normal level, the Visa and Mastercard levels are twice what they normally are.

Mineral water sales are non existent.

Do people actually make reservations for 13 during restaurant week, and then 20 minutes past the reservation time, with only one of the party in the restaurant, call him and tell him to tell us no one is actually coming? Fake phone number on the reservation too!

Customer count is off 9.4% but the average spending is up over 5%. Had to say exactly, but I'd bet this is more profitable.

Of course, this year we had BCS plus snow, New Hampshire primary and rain.

We are running wine madness where wines 50%+ are 33% off. So a $50 bottle sells for a net of $33. We are selling more $30-40 bottles then $50-60 bottles which is good for my bottom line, but the customer is paying full price rrather than spending the same money and getting a more expensive bottle.

Average turn time is unchanged despite a much larger percentage of new customers.

Walk-ins almost never order the RW deal.

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Pleasant surprises...

Low rate of no shows

People friendlier than last year

Lots of returning folk bring in new customers

Per person spending remains higher than last year {except for last night where is was almost the same}

Lots of folk dining at the bar

Much more fun ending RW on the Sunday before MLK day then starting it on MLK day like last year. 180 reservations as of now for Sunday.

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The no shows saved it up for Saturday might but were still not out of control this year with 4 tables no showing. But when two if them are early 4 tops, it does throw off the night.

The real issue Saturday night was the over 40 covers who decided to cancell after 4pm (32 cancelling at 6:30 or later}. These weren't folk calling in for a ressie and then cancelling at the last minute, but folk who had reservations for day and weks in advance. First time ever our Saturday night was slower then Firday.

Sunday brunch our second highest cover count ever! Ran out of hamburgers!

Sunday night was one of our busiest RW Sundays ever! Note to RAMW: ending RW on the Sunday before MLK Day is much more fun than starting it on MLK Day.

Wound up on cover count, dollars, spending per cover. All good signs for the economy.

One of the best parts of RW was seeing several customers we had not seen in a while due to health problems,,, love to see them up and around and looking good!

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