Jan 15 2009

Trying to Help You Get the Most Out Of ‘Restaurant Week’

Published by Andy at 9:53 am under Food, Wine & Beer News,Recession Specials

The 2-weeks of ‘Winter Restaurant Week’ kick off this Sunday, the 18th. Top restaurants all over the city will be serving up 3-course lunches and dinners for $24.07 and $35, respectively. In the past, the deal was only good on weekedays and some of the top-tier restaurants refused to participate, but this year, thanks to the economy, NYC Restaurant Week has been expanded to include Sunday’s and the list of participating restaurants has ballooned to more than 250, the largest group in its 18-year history. A few restaurants are even offering the deal on Saturday. Many restaurants have already been in ‘Restaurant Week’ mode for several weeks now, offering attractive ‘Recession Specials’ to lure diners in this ever-souring economy.

With the sad news from Steven Hanson’s BR Guest empire yesterday of several restaurant closings and these ominous predictions former Chef Fabio Trabocchi of Fiamma relayed to Frank Bruni during a phone call, there is no doubt that restaurants are stepping up their efforts in a major way, as Steven Hanson puts it, “to hug the customer.” Find out our biggest Restaurant Week gripe, and our proposed solution, after the jump…

While Restaurant Week certainly provides a great opportunity to affordably dine at some of the city’s most expensive restaurants, our single biggest problem with Restaurant Week is that we are not dessert eaters. We maybe order dessert with dinner once or twice a year…Birthdays, so we can stick a candle in something, and Valentine’s Day. In fact, nobody that we know who dines frequently in the city orders desserts…especially in January when they are trying to stay true to New Year’s resolutions. When you factor out dessert and factor in a glass or two of wine and/or cocktails, a Restaurant Week meal can become an expensive outing.

Hanson said in his interview that the solution is to cater to diners. We are ready to be catered to and “hugged.” Here’s our thoughts:

Beginning today we are reaching out to participating restaurants to see if any of them are ready to step it up in a MAJOR WAY. What we are asking is this: give diners a choice — a desssert course OR a glass of house wine (not asking for a 2005 first-growth Bordeaux, but something towards the bottom of the wine list). If that’s too much to ask, then restaurants can get creative with this and perhaps do a buy 1 glass, get 1 glass option in lieu of dessert. From our experience (and market research), people will order an additional glass of wine or cocktail when they receive one for free.

Guess who we’re reaching out to first? We’ll let you know the responses we get. Wish us luck.

7 responses so far

7 Responses to “Trying to Help You Get the Most Out Of ‘Restaurant Week’”

  1. richard don 15 Jan 2009 at 10:48 am

    that’s exactly why my wife and i don’t do restaurant week. would likely reconsider if any places do a wine substitute. let us know what they say.

  2. Maggieon 15 Jan 2009 at 11:34 am

    great idea!

  3. Keiferon 15 Jan 2009 at 12:30 pm

    Wonder if you offended this fellow blogger:


  4. Paulon 15 Jan 2009 at 4:07 pm

    Beat Gramercy Tavern-they are giving a coupon for Restaurant Week for $24.07 to use during the rest of the winter and lots of choices on the menu.

  5. Andyon 15 Jan 2009 at 5:07 pm

    I don’t think you can beat GT’s deals — $24.07 gift certificate and bottles of wine for $24.07 at lunch — problem is they only are offering Restaurant Week menu for lunch and only Mon-Fri….also GT books up the first day they take reservations for Restaurant Week…though i hear it’s first come-first serve in the front part of the restaurant. Have to be either a tourist or homemaker to take advantage of this one. unfortunately, i’m usually at my desk during lunch.

  6. acaciaon 15 Jan 2009 at 11:28 pm

    I LOVE dessert!

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