And here we are at the start of another Restaurant Week. An opportunity for folks to try some new dishes and establishments at discounted prices, while restaurants hopefully win some new patrons before winter starts.
If you are the type of person who likes to go downtown for the New Years Eve ball drop, goes out for steak and lobster tails on Valentines Day, and has never met a Mothers Day Buffet you didn’t like, then you will likely thrive on Restaurant Week. If you order party pizzas at halftime during the Superbowl, you will have no issue on Restaurant Week.
But for the rest of us, please make sure your expectations are properly set, because Restaurant Week is churn em and burn em time. Success during restaurant week often requires a bit of shifting from a quality to quantity mode, as the business ramps up to meet the increased demand. Some places can pull off high quality at high volume, but those places are killing it both on and off Restaurant Week so we already know who they are.
It is no secret that restaurants often shift to an Outlet Mall version of regular dishes to keep costs in line as well as better please and attract a wider range of patron. After all, while people enjoy their Applebees prices combo meals, the goal of the restaurant is to get them to come back for a real meal, at real prices someday. If you’re getting $20 meal at a steakhouse that would usually cost you $100, don’t be surprised when your beef isn’t dry aged prime and your shrimp cocktail is served in a shot glass.
Everyone participating gets crushed during restaurant week. The kitchen staff is slammed from open to close, and the waitstaff is running nonstop. If you’re attending one of these meals please tip well. 15% on $44 at a fine dining restaurant sucks and is disrespectful.
Here are the people who should not go out on Restaurant Week:
- People who are shitty tippers. You shouldn’t be eating in restaurants if you don’t tip anyway – but especially now.
- People who have huge dietary restrictions. You are respected by the kitchen staff, but now is not the time to ask for a paleo bread basket.
- People who are picky and want variations. The Restaurant Week menu was chosen to appeal to a broad audience. If you don’t like the way things are prepared during restaurant week, you will probably hate their regular menu.
- Assholes. No one wants to listen to you complain. And they don’t have time.
Here is how to be successful during Restaurant Week:
- Go to a restaurant you’ve never been to before. Why go to the same old Italian Joint you always visit and get the same meal for $2 cheaper?
- Try a cuisine you’ve never had. Buffalo is blowing up with delicious foods right now. Be exotic. Thai, Pakistani, Indian, Japanese, Burmese foods all exist here now. The International standout on this list for me is probably Sun Restaurant on the West Side. Go try something different. You can sort the online restaurant list by cuisine type.
- Be understanding. Its going to be crazy. They’re going to be tired. They’re going to run out of things. Bear with them.
- Go to a non-participating restaurant during Restaurant Week. After all of this, could you blame a restaurant for not joining the Restaurant Week program? A lot of places, for various reasons – don’t do Restaurant Week. If you have a favorite, go there for dinner. It’s likely to be much quieter as the masses sweep through restaurant week and your business will be appreciated.