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Paying More For Resto Week

May 18, 2017

Restaurant Week needs to change with the times. Food has gotten more expensive. It has. So let’s take a nice restaurant like 333 Cafe in Delmar, and look at the regular menu for a minute.

An app of roasted beets is $11. Entrees hover around $25. Let’s say dessert is $9. Put ‘em all together and that’s $45. Asking anyone to charge half of that or less for a restaurant week promotion doesn’t make much sense. So it’s no wonder that restaurants will often dumb down their Restaurant Week offerings, but that doesn’t serve anyone’s interests either.

At a place like 333 Cafe, even $30 would be a significant savings off everyday prices. If that’s not enough to bring people into the restaurant to try it out, they aren’t likely going to be an establishment’s return customers.

The above was an example of why it makes sense to pay more for restaurant week. Now let me share with you another way of paying more for restaurant week that boggles the imagination.

Apparently, we are in the middle of Bethlehem’s Restaurant Week. I happened to stumble upon that yesterday somewhere on the Internet.

I do have a fondness for looking over restaurant week menus. Really I love all menus in general. Restaurant Week menus are something special, because I’m always hopeful that I’ll find one that is remarkable.

What I found this time, was a burger joint, two pizza places, and a tavern. All where you can spend $25 a person for one of the special Restaurant Week three course meals.

Screech.

I’d have a hard time spending $25 on a meal at any of these places without feeling like a big fat pig. Yes, it would be fun to go to Swifty’s and be able to eat something beyond the deep fried buffalo burger with french fries dipped in more buffalo sauce. But I can’t. And why would you go there and order anything else anyhow? I guess that last question is more a matter of taste. But seriously. Deep. Fried. Burger. Ordered rare, with the buffalo sauce at medium heat. Blue cheese dressing on the side.

But even at the Bethlehem burger joint, even if you could figure out how to eat an appetizer, a specialty burger, and a dessert, the regular price is only $20.

I can understand that there are some businesses who get caught up in the excitement of Restaurant Week, and want to participate. However, I can’t imagine going to Romo’s and not getting the Gracie pie. It’s the thing everybody talks about. I’ve never had it. But it’s not on the Restaurant Week menu. Sure, you could get an Italiano Panini as your entree. I don’t quite get how that sandwich, with an app of chips and salsa, followed by fried dough knots is a value at $25. That said, I bet those dough knots are delicious.

My hunch is that most folks leave Romo’s with a food bill significantly under $25 a person for dinner.

It’s almost as if the underlying principles of Restaurant Week were forgotten long ago, and people are now just putting up menus willy nilly.

I do think there is a benefit to locking the promotion into a single dollar amount across the board. It helps with marketing communication and limits any consumer confusion. What probably makes more sense is to divide Restaurant Week up into two separate events. One for fancier, more expensive restaurants. Another for more reasonably priced, everyday restaurants.

The other thing that resulted from looking at all these menus, is that I was reminded that Yanni’s Too has an entire section of its regular menu dedicated to calamari with six different preparations of expertly fried squid.

Can I tell you how badly I want to go with a group of people and eat them all?

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