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Restaurant Week - Summer 2007


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Dino will be offering Restaurant Week for the entire month of August. Our full menu will be available with about 3-4 items with an upcharge.
Is Dino participating in Restaurant Week as a member of the Washington DC Convention & Tourism Corporation or the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington, or is this a Dino counter-promotion? There is a separate thread for other menu price promotions, not to mention the Dino thread.
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Is Dino participating in Restaurant Week as a member of the Washington DC Convention & Tourism Corporation or the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington, or is this a Dino counter-promotion? There is a separate thread for other menu price promotions, not to mention the Dino thread.

We are participating in the official restaurant week as members of RAMW and extending our offer all month.

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How much does it cost each restaurant (upfront cash only) to participate in Restaurant Week these days? I wonder if the general public realizes that it costs small restaurant owners money to get listed by RAMW as participants in each restaurant week.

I remember when Restaurant Week started (after 9/11) as a way to get business back to restaurants during an extremely slow time. It worked. Fast forwarding a few years later ('03-'04--the last time I participated), I know it cost each restaurant $500 to get listed each time and it happened twice a year and not necessarily during slow periods.

It does bring new customers in your doors, but is the added expense and hassle worth it? I could argue either way, depending on what day of the week it is and which direction the wind is blowing.

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I remember when Restaurant Week started (after 9/11) as a way to get business back to restaurants during an extremely slow time.
I beleive it started prior to 2001. My first RW outing was Tahoga which has been closed for quite some time.
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How much does it cost each restaurant (upfront cash only) to participate in Restaurant Week these days? I wonder if the general public realizes that it costs small restaurant owners money to get listed by RAMW as participants in each restaurant week.

I remember when Restaurant Week started (after 9/11) as a way to get business back to restaurants during an extremely slow time. It worked. Fast forwarding a few years later ('03-'04--the last time I participated), I know it cost each restaurant $500 to get listed each time and it happened twice a year and not necessarily during slow periods.

It does bring new customers in your doors, but is the added expense and hassle worth it? I could argue either way, depending on what day of the week it is and which direction the wind is blowing.

I'd say it's probably worth it- suddenly places that would be dead are now packed on Sunday-Wednesday.
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Vidalia also - their menu from January 2007 is still online here and maybe it'll be updated at some point with this time's menu.

Vidalia is a great choice (though Opentable suggests they are already booked). They also did discounted wine glasses in January which was a nice touch, especially given the quality of their by the glass program. We're trying New Heights, which I've yet to visit since Wabeck returned. Not sure if they will offer the ful menu or not, but I'm hopeful it will be a good value. I was interested to notice that BLT is an RW option for lunch and that Cafe du Parc is participating as well. TK and the Washingtonian's Best Bites crew over their suggestions here.

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DC Coast usually does the whole menu with some upcharges for some dishes like the lobster. Same with Ceiba.

Also? Some of you all are snobs. Restaurant week is great for those of us that can't dine at Palena, Eve and BLT a few times a month or even once a month for that matter.

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Some of you all are snobs. Restaurant week is great for those of us that can't dine at Palena, Eve and BLT a few times a month or even once a month for that matter.

I speak for snobs. You have to ferret out the places that offer a mere two or three choices and steer you into a bowl of gazpacho, probably whomped up in a common kitchen. Some of the better restaurants are guilty of this -- Bistro Bis, Taberna, for example. We snobs say, "If you're going to do Restaurant Week, then by god do it! Take a loss if need be for the added exposure. But don't say you're doing it and then chisel the people who want to try you out. Better not to do it at all."

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I speak for snobs. You have to ferret out the places that offer a mere two or three choices and steer you into a bowl of gazpacho, probably whomped up in a common kitchen. Some of the better restaurants are guilty of this -- Bistro Bis, Taberna, for example. We snobs say, "If you're going to do Restaurant Week, then by god do it! Take a loss if need be for the added exposure. But don't say you're doing it and then chisel the people who want to try you out. Better not to do it at all."

If I offer gazpacho, does that make me common? i'd also rather not take a loss, its bad for the business you know. futhermore if i offer a few choices, and they are strong dishes, how am i chiseling anyone?

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If I offer gazpacho, does that make me common? i'd also rather not take a loss, its bad for the business you know. futhermore if i offer a few choices, and they are strong dishes, how am i chiseling anyone?

Chef,

I can't see you offering a gazpacho that would be anything but ordinary. Why do restaurants participate in this event? Is there any kind of pressure to participate? I would imagine most places barely break even as far as the RW goes or even take a loss. Good restaurants such as yours probably don't need the additional headache. Is it all over publicity? What benefits do you get out of this? I am just curious, though I am glad you are participating because I have a reservation.

By the way, have you decided what you will be offering yet?

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I understand the reason for August RW is to boost revenues when the restaurants are generally slower and Congress is out of session. I feel pretty good about my RW picks which are all on TK's list (best bites blog); Vidalia, Prime Rib and (took a chance booking the week after RW) Corduroy.

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I understand the reason for August RW is to boost revenues when the restaurants are generally slower and Congress is out of session. I feel pretty good about my RW picks which are all on TK's list (best bites blog); Vidalia, Prime Rib and (took a chance booking the week after RW) Corduroy.

I waited too long and couldn't get in at Corduroy at the time we wanted. The thing we like about Corduroy is they offer the full menu and full portions. So far I've booked Circle Bistro, Palette and Cafe Promenade (the last two we have never been to).

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Chef,

I can't see you offering a gazpacho that would be anything but ordinary. Why do restaurants participate in this event? Is there any kind of pressure to participate? I would imagine most places barely break even as far as the RW goes or even take a loss. Good restaurants such as yours probably don't need the additional headache. Is it all over publicity? What benefits do you get out of this? I am just curious, though I am glad you are participating because I have a reservation.

By the way, have you decided what you will be offering yet?

The idea that restaurants take a loss during restaurant week is a fallacy for the most part, the difference between regular service and RW is the margin that the restaurant maintains, when offering a discount the margin becomes smaller and affects the net line of income, however the business brought in in a successful RW creates a positive entry to the gross. the offset being that many fixed costs of operating benefit from RW in the leaner times of august by having a higher income, but fluctuating costs(food,labor) are negatively impacted as a percentage of income. thirty dollars is a good deal of money for many people, myself included, and the ability to offer a good meal at that price is a good judge of a resataurant. RW is not a headache, merely a busier than average time as many operators will seek to maximize income by booking more guests than the norm. When a restaurant offers a limited menu in the original format of restaurant week it streamlines production and can turn tables faster, when a restaurant offers it full menu it cannot do the same, so the repetitiveness of RW for staff is greater with a limited menu, but the overall business does better because of the greater number of guests. The decision to participate in RW is made when we consider what the restaurant will be like in a "normal" mode of service for the time period versus the increase in business from RW. Many restaurants are busy every night, every week all the time and have the ability to forgo RW b/c they will not be adversely affected, or they choose not to participate because it doesn't make sense in where they are postioned in the market(think Cityzen, Citronell) most other restaurants in DC need the influx of business in August. Besides the income benefits to being busy in a traditionally slow period is the opportunity to cook for people who haven't been here and hopefully will return. The impact that a RW meal has on the individual is prety significant in that 30 is not far off our average hguest check of 36 or so, so we can move forward believing that poeple who come for RW will return. I don't have any stats, but the retention rates for RW guests is probably all over the board, some poeple love us some may not and in the end its probably the same percentages as any other night, because the quality of the experience is the same, because we don't skimp on our efforts whether there is a full menu offered or a limited one. In short, the headache is only there if we make it a headache for ourselves, we want to have people eat here, we want them to have a good time and the more people we can impact the better. Tangentally, I don't like the 500 dollar participation fee I think it excessive and would rather it go to a charity rather than a trade association.

ps we're doing the majority of the mernu in an attempt to split the difference

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The idea that restaurants take a loss during restaurant week is a fallacy for the most part, the difference between regular service and RW is the margin that the restaurant maintains, when offering a discount the margin becomes smaller and affects the net line of income, however the business brought in in a successful RW creates a positive entry to the gross. the offset being that many fixed costs of operating benefit from RW in the leaner times of august by having a higher income, but fluctuating costs(food,labor) are negatively impacted as a percentage of income. thirty dollars is a good deal of money for many people, myself included, and the ability to offer a good meal at that price is a good judge of a resataurant. RW is not a headache, merely a busier than average time as many operators will seek to maximize income by booking more guests than the norm. When a restaurant offers a limited menu in the original format of restaurant week it streamlines production and can turn tables faster, when a restaurant offers it full menu it cannot do the same, so the repetitiveness of RW for staff is greater with a limited menu, but the overall business does better because of the greater number of guests. The decision to participate in RW is made when we consider what the restaurant will be like in a "normal" mode of service for the time period versus the increase in business from RW. Many restaurants are busy every night, every week all the time and have the ability to forgo RW b/c they will not be adversely affected, or they choose not to participate because it doesn't make sense in where they are postioned in the market(think Cityzen, Citronell) most other restaurants in DC need the influx of business in August. Besides the income benefits to being busy in a traditionally slow period is the opportunity to cook for people who haven't been here and hopefully will return. The impact that a RW meal has on the individual is prety significant in that 30 is not far off our average hguest check of 36 or so, so we can move forward believing that poeple who come for RW will return. I don't have any stats, but the retention rates for RW guests is probably all over the board, some poeple love us some may not and in the end its probably the same percentages as any other night, because the quality of the experience is the same, because we don't skimp on our efforts whether there is a full menu offered or a limited one. In short, the headache is only there if we make it a headache for ourselves, we want to have people eat here, we want them to have a good time and the more people we can impact the better. Tangentally, I don't like the 500 dollar participation fee I think it excessive and would rather it go to a charity rather than a trade association.

ps we're doing the majority of the mernu in an attempt to split the difference

Thank you for the insight into this event. I wasn't even aware that there is a participation fee. I'm sure this is news to alot of us.

My husband and I have been very lucky, in that except for one instance in the 3 years we have been attending RW (both summer and winter) we have never been rushed through our meal. This is probably not the norm. I was curious as to how you are able to plan your reservations during this time, considering guests who like leisurely meals. I suppose this isn't the time to do it? Normally we are those diners who may take up to 3 hrs or more at your table.

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Thank you for the insight into this event. I wasn't even aware that there is a participation fee. I'm sure this is news to alot of us.

My husband and I have been very lucky, in that except for one instance in the 3 years we have been attending RW (both summer and winter) we have never been rushed through our meal. This is probably not the norm. I was curious as to how you are able to plan your reservations during this time, considering guests who like leisurely meals. I suppose this isn't the time to do it? Normally we are those diners who may take up to 3 hrs or more at your table.

we allot the same amount of time for RW as any other time.

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Also? Some of you all are snobs. Restaurant week is great for those of us that can't dine at Palena, Eve and BLT a few times a month or even once a month for that matter.

Exactly-since I probably won't get back to most of these restaurants any time soon I want the option to experience the full menu-not what the restaurant wants me to try. This is my chance to introduce new restaurants to someone that we otherwise would never be able to afford. If there is a restaurant that is offering their full menu, and therefor the oportunity to experience of the restaurant as I would any other day of the year, I'll take that option before a limited menu. If that makes me a snob, so be it.

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I haven't seen the verb "to chisel" in actual usage since I saw it on The Flintstones long ago.
Can't....Stop....Laughing.... ;)

Here in San Francisco, they do the whole month of January, called "Dine About Town"...because it rains all January, and most places only really get hit the last week....I almost miss the madness of RW.....no, on seccond thought, no I don't...take a deep breath, accept that 9 PM reservation with a smile....AND DON'T DOUBLE BOOK!!!

<stepping off my soap-box>

dave

People's Republic of San Francisco

P.S. There is pressure to participate because if you don't, you'll be slow as dog-shit that week and your servers will go broke until October.

(edited to add this thought)

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i need help picking between 3 restaurants. viridian, butterfield 9, or indique? if u could only pick 1 for restaurant week, which would it be?

I haven't been to Viridian, but I'd choose Butterfield 9. I've been twice for RW, both times for lunch with decent-sized groups, and have been pleasantly surprised both times. I say surprised because I thought the food quite good for a place that essentially has no "buzz" and that I hadn't heard of at all the first time we went. I'd agree with JLK that Indique is probably too cheap... might as well go to a place that's more expensive since you can go to Indique for around that price pretty much anytime you want.

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i need help picking between 3 restaurants. viridian, butterfield 9, or indique? if u could only pick 1 for restaurant week, which would it be?

Indique is not worth it for RW like JPW mentioned and I think Butterfield 9 is really mediocre. Also, they typically give very limited options for RW. I know it hasn't gotten glowing reviews on here, but I'd go to Viridian just because of Hartzer and the fact that he's had some time to settle in and potentially get things going at the restaurant.

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The idea that restaurants take a loss during restaurant week is a fallacy for the most part, the difference between regular service and RW is the margin that the restaurant maintains, when offering a discount the margin becomes smaller and affects the net line of income, however...

Thanks for the break down! This makes a lot of sense and really shined some insight into your decision making process. I am a little disappointed, however, that you didn't provide your break even analysis. ;)

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We're booked for Cafe MoZU. Any been for RW there before? Do they have the whole menu available, with up-charges? -- Thanks, T

Went to Cafe MoZu for RW 2 years ago (maybe 3?). They did not have the whole menu but I remember that there was sufficient variety; I don't remember if there were upcharges. It was overall not terrible, but not terribly memorable either. I think I may have posted about it back then if you do a search.

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Of course I'm at the beach once again during RW. Alas. However I did manage to snag a Corduroy reservation for the following week and a couple weeks before will be partaking in Oya's 2nd anniversary special for lunch with some co-workers ($19 so virtually the same price as RW)

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We have lunch reservations at Kinkead's for RW. Two quick questions:

a. Does anyone know if they typically offer the full menu? I've heard great things about their lobster roll in particular.

b. I had heard the restaurant week reservations on OpenTable were supposed to begin on July 9, but I made our reservations a few days in advance of that date. Is this a problem - do I need to reconfirm with Kinkeads ahead of time that we will be dining off the RW menu? Or is it fine to just let the waiter know when we arrive?

Any guidance appreciated!

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We have lunch reservations at Kinkead's for RW. Two quick questions:

a. Does anyone know if they typically offer the full menu? I've heard great things about their lobster roll in particular.

b. I had heard the restaurant week reservations on OpenTable were supposed to begin on July 9, but I made our reservations a few days in advance of that date. Is this a problem - do I need to reconfirm with Kinkeads ahead of time that we will be dining off the RW menu? Or is it fine to just let the waiter know when we arrive?

I had lunch at Kinkead's during the January 2007 restaurant week. They offered an RW menu ONLY, no regular menu available. The only other option was to order from the raw bar. I don't know if you're familiar with Kinkead's regular lunch menu, but it's divvied up into a rather confusing jumble of categories. Their January RW menu, on the other hand, was organized straightforwardly into firsts, mains, and desserts. Their menu changes fairly often (well, parts of it change every day), so it's hard to say if they make the whole thing available, but there was a very generous array of choices in each course. There was only one upcharge on the whole menu, but that was for the lobster roll you mention, which is indeed very good. In January, that was an extra $7.50. Since then, the regular menu price for that item has gone up, though. It used to be $25, then it went to $27, and, I believe, later came back down to $26. Anyway, I thought they did an excellent job with their RW menu. Twenty bucks for three courses at Kinkead's is definitely a bargain.

No telling, of course, if the August RW experience at Kinkead's will be the same as the January one.

ETA: Welcome to donrockwell.com!

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I speak for snobs. You have to ferret out the places that offer a mere two or three choices and steer you into a bowl of gazpacho, probably whomped up in a common kitchen. Some of the better restaurants are guilty of this -- Bistro Bis, Taberna, for example. We snobs say, "If you're going to do Restaurant Week, then by god do it! Take a loss if need be for the added exposure. But don't say you're doing it and then chisel the people who want to try you out. Better not to do it at all."

Bistro Bis will be offering the entire menu same as we did in January. Heres a link to the restaurant week menus here

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i have reservations at viridian and courdouroy. i'm going with my parents one night and a friend the other night. which place is more suitable for my parents and which place is better for friends. i'm 23 if that helps.

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Hey -

I have Tuesday 7:30 reservations at Equinox, but something has come up and I can't use them.

Does anyone happen to have Monday reservations (anytime - I'll take the 9:30 spot, I'm not fussy) that they'd like to swap out for mine? I don't know quite how we'll facilitate this, or if I'm doing something terrible (I'm sorry if i am - this is with best intentions), but I would hate to have to miss this.

I'm going to cancel Monday around noon if I don't hear from anyone to be fair to the restaurant (I'm sure they'll get snapped up - Equinox at restaurant week is a rare treat), but please PM me if you can help me out.

thanks for this in advance.

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Hey -

I have Tuesday 7:30 reservations at Equinox, but something has come up and I can't use them.

Does anyone happen to have Monday reservations (anytime - I'll take the 9:30 spot, I'm not fussy) that they'd like to swap out for mine? I don't know quite how we'll facilitate this, or if I'm doing something terrible (I'm sorry if i am - this is with best intentions), but I would hate to have to miss this.

I'm going to cancel Monday around noon if I don't hear from anyone to be fair to the restaurant (I'm sure they'll get snapped up - Equinox at restaurant week is a rare treat), but please PM me if you can help me out.

thanks for this in advance.

Thanks, beezy, for a classy example of how to show proper respect for a reservation.

You guys feel free to use this thread as a reservation-swapping bazaar - just MAKE SURE TO CANCEL YOUR RESERVATIONS AT LEAST A DAY IN ADVANCE if you can't use them. People multi-book Restaurant Week reservations and decide at the last minute where to go, not even bothering to call the other restaurants to cancel. This is beyond selfish and speaks volumes of the worthless PIGS that do it.

Not a sermon, just a thought.

Rocks.

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i have reservations at viridian and courdouroy. i'm going with my parents one night and a friend the other night. which place is more suitable for my parents and which place is better for friends. i'm 23 if that helps.

Well, it's hard to say not knowing the food and atmosphere preferences of your friends and parents, but to me, Corduroy has a more conservative atmosphere than Viridian, which has more of a hip atmosphere, if that helps any.

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thanks for the tips.

if it were up to me, i would pick places based on the food. but i think everyone i'm going with really just wants to go for the atmosphere. so i'm keeping viridian for my parents and i changed corduroy to cafe mozu. i really wanted to go to corduroy but oh well. i will just have to go during a regular week.

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