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Events, holidays and special occasions are just as important to the restaurant industry as breakfast, lunch and dinner. Not only are they a chance to cook up some great food, but they’re also an excellent way to entice hungry guests with new dining options and special offers.

And when it comes to restaurant week, there’s simply nothing better. But what is restaurant week? How does it work and why should you participate? Let’s take a look at this nationwide phenomenon.

What is restaurant week?

Restaurant week is a promotional strategy designed to help boost business for participating restaurants, especially during slow times of year when most local restaurants aren’t receiving many visitors. 

Here’s the general concept: participating restaurants partner with local organizations to promote a week of lunch and dinner discounts. They offer special prices on a prix fixe menu — a type of menu that offers certain food at a set rate. The benefit of a prix fixe menu is that guests have a chance to sample food from their neighborhood restaurants that would otherwise be out of their price range, thus attracting more customers throughout the week.

How did restaurant week start?

The first restaurant week was created in New York City in 1992, according to Quartz. Tim Zagat, creator of the Zagat Survey, and Joe Baum initially intended NYC Restaurant Week to be a lunch-only promotion, but soon it became much bigger. 

What began as a week-long event became a month of special offers and great food throughout the city. It was such a great success that it quickly spread to cities all over the country, making restaurant week a national phenomenon

How you could benefit by participating

When local restaurants participate in restaurant week, they usually benefit from:

  • Increased sales volume: Special prices allow more visitors to dine at your restaurant, thus offsetting the discounted menu. This means you can attract new customers and build long-term loyalty through great food at a great price.
  • Increased average check value: With lower prices, people tend to spend more. Whether it’s an extra order of fries or a dessert after dinner, it all adds up to more revenue.
  • Free promotion: Partnering organizations usually promote participating restaurants, which means a little extra exposure at zero cost to your business.

Promoting restaurant week

Considering the benefits, choosing to participate in restaurant week is the easy part. Ensuring that you market your restaurant properly can be tricky. So, how can you make sure your participation is a success?

Here are a few tips you can use to spread the word about your special offers:

  • Promote on social media: Social media is a great way to get people’s attention. Tell your followers about all the great food they can get on your prix fixe menu. Include plenty of photos to stir their interest.
  • Email marketing: Send out email blasts to your customers so they know exactly what to expect during restaurant week.
  • Offer online ordering and delivery: Expand your reach by allowing diners to access your special prices through online ordering and delivery. Even after restaurant week is over, you may have earned some loyal customers who’d love to order from your restaurant again.

Restaurant week is a major opportunity to grow your business. That’s why Grubhub is here to help. When you sign up for Grubhub Marketplace, you’re where 33+ million diners are looking for their new favorite restaurant — and that could be you! Sign up for Grubhub today.