Cashing in on Restaurant Week All Year Long

Tips for turning Restaurant Week customers into regulars

Research from Cake, a tech-solution division of Sysco, shows restaurants typically see a revenue boost of about 23 percent during an average Restaurant Week promotion. That can be a nice boost to your first quarter bottom line. Even better — how can you turn those first time customers into loyalists? 

We asked Sysco Business Resource Consultant Ricky Webster for his tips for bringing those Inlander Restaurant Week customers back. 

Make sure your menu tells your restaurant’s story. 

Research shows the number one reason diners go out during Inlander Restaurant Week is to try someplace new to them. Make sure your three-course meal represents what you do all year round, even if it’s in a slightly different format. “You don’t want diners to come back the next week and find a totally different restaurant,” Ricky emphasises. 

Keep it consistent. 

Create a three course meal that’s impactful and flavorful that your staff can consistently prepare night after night. “You may even consider additional training during the slower weeks in January to make sure your execution is perfect,” Ricky suggests. 

Deliver superior service.

According to a study by American Express, Americans tell an average of 15 people about a poor service experience, versus the 11 people they’ll tell about a good experience. It’s expensive and damaging to deliver substandard service. Again, Ricky recommends using some of the slower weeks in January to focus on training your staff to provide an exceptional guest experience. “Your staff are the first and last point of contact for most of your guests, and they really set your restaurant apart from everyone else.” Need some help getting your team up to speed? Sysco can help. “Another nice thing about Sysco is that we will come and help you with those training programs.” Sysco has a business resource team of six experts ready to assist your team in everything from server training to menu cost analysis.

“Make sure diners feel seen and heard.

Pull out all the stops. 

“Do whatever you can to make sure every guest is getting that wow factor,” Ricky suggests. Small extras, like sending out an amuse bouche can make all the difference. “If it makes sense for your restaurant, do it, have fun with it, and know you’re investing in your brand.” Ricky also suggest experimenting with bounce-back promotions. For instance, consider giving guests a special envelope at the end of their meal that contains a gift of some sort  — from a free dessert to $10 coupon off their meal. Make sure the guest must open it with you when they return within the next six weeks to receive the offer. 

Inlander Restaurant Week is also a time for owners to be connecting with diners and asking for sincere feedback. He envisions conversations like this, “Which desert did you guys try? Oh, you had the cheesecake. Okay, the next time you are here, you’ve got to get the apple crisp because ours is the best in town. I’m going to write this on my card right now, and we’d love to give you an apple crisp when you come back.” Ricky says a conversation like that could represent a $2 or $3 investment in a customer, but one that means they are coming back for sure. Bottom line, says Ricky, “Make sure diners feel seen and heard.

More Sysco Tips and Tricks

for Inlander Restaurant Week

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With Washington’s minimum raise increasing in January and employee benefits expenses on the rise, restaurants are under more pressure than ever to manage their bottom line. “As restaurants are asking themselves how are they going to manage the increases in labor costs, we’re hearing from a lot of our customers that they don’t want to jack up menu prices,” explains Sysco Business Resource Consultant Ricky Webster. “But how do you do that?” Managing your food cost is a good place to start. Here are three tips from Ricky to keep your food cost in line, and drive profits up.

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A Better Bottom Line

Running a profitable restaurant has never been easy. And it’s not about to get any easier, as new wage and compensation laws kick in for Washington State. So how can your restaurant absorb higher labor costs?

“Keeping a close eye on your food cost is critical,” says Sysco Business Resource Consultant Ricky Webster. In our last Prep for Success newsletter, Ricky offered three tips to keep food costs down through inventory control, goal setting and consistency.

3 Reasons to start creating your Restaurant Week menu right now

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Research shows that a restaurant can increase sales by up to 30 percent just by utilizing enticing menu descriptions. Thirty percent! “Powerful descriptions are particularly important during a Restaurant Week promotion, because many diners are actively comparing your menu to other restaurants and selecting eateries solely based on menu offerings,”

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