Monday, March 09, 2009

Yes, I want those three string beans wrapped up, too

March 9

I recently asked you, dear reader, whether you’re using doggie bags more now than you did a year ago. Most respondents said they aren't, but 40 percent said they are, which is certainly enough to say that doggie bag use is on the rise. Of course, these polls are unscientific, but interesting nonetheless, and the responses corroborate what restaurateurs are telling me, which is that doggie bag use is definitely on the rise (except at Capital Grille, where they say they haven’t noticed any such growth).
Okay, but who cares? Well, in our April 20 issue NRN we’ll run a special section on back-of-the-house strategies for improving guests’ experiences while managing costs. One article in that section will be on how to capitalize on the doggie bag trend (there are ways, oh, you bet your sweet maple syrup there are ways). Stay tuned.

Now, I’d like to ask both restaurateurs and restaurant goers how they feel about restaurant week. if you want to comment more elaborately, feel free to do so in the comment section below this blog entry.

For posterity, below are the results of the doggie bag poll.

yes 13 (40%)
no 19 (59%)
Total votes: 32


Marly said...

Having now lived in two rampant restaurant week (RW) cities, and having taken part as a RW restaurateur and a restaurant goer, here is my opinion...

Restaurants like to participate in RW to get customers in during typical slow periods, which is a win/win for everyone. If a customer enjoys his or her experience, it can be considered a trial experience gone good, and you more likely than not end up with a customer who will return again.

However some restaurants participate in RW begrudgingly. They feel they need the business or are pressured by the planning committee. However these places either make the portions on the mandatory prix fixe too small, push waiters to get aggressive with the upsell, or worse, give attitude if the prix fixe is all that is ordered.

I believe if a restaurant's heart is not in RW, then it shouldn't participate. Restaurants: think of all RW guests as gravy. If those people are treated like royalty and enjoy their meal, they will spread the word AND return to experience meals during more expensive non-RW times. However, if RW guests feel unwelcome or cheated, the chance to have them back as guests or fans is lost.

That's my two cents!

Anonymous said...

Agreed, The report from Chicago is I had four meals during RW in Chicago. The Frontera Grill did not even offer a menu for lunch the first time and the waiter rattled off what they had on the menu as if an after thought. Naha for dinner was interesting, nice portions and offered up great value wines, their service and staff were attentive and the restaurant was packed. Farmarie 58had a nice menu, nice portions and a knowledgable server.

Anonymous said...

interesting isn't it!