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Each American city both has its share of local favorite restaurants, and diamonds that have yet to be discovered. For restaurateurs, the climb to becoming a local favorite can feel like it’s paved with obstacles beyond compare.

But then there’s Restaurant Week.

Before you say “ugh, that sounds like more work than it’s worth,” let’s all just browse a nice little history lesson first.

The History Of Restaurant Week

Believe it or not, Restaurant Week started as a New York City tradition. Fast forward, and it has grabbed international fame.

But how?

Originally, it began in NYC as an annual week-long dining experience featuring a listing of restaurants offering a pre-determined menu at a matching price-point for each participating location. Nowadays, Restaurant Week can last up to a month, and takes place multiple times a year in some cities.

Traditionally held in early winter and summer for most cities, the increase in adoption country-wide and appreciation consumer wide has turned it into a phenomenon.


There is nothing quite like restaurant week to build customer loyalty. Take the stress out of Restaurant Week and get your planning guide.

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1992: The First Restaurant Week

The first Restaurant Week was thought up by Tim Zagat and Joe Baum and began in NYC as a lunch-only promotional event.

With Joe, a top restaurateur known most notably for dining rooms such as Windows of the World, the two planned the first Restaurant Week to coincide with the Democratic Convention in NYC – a week filled with new guests, mostly reporters, looking for dining options.

The week-long event was such a success it has grown beyond a one-week event to 4-weeks during the year in NYC and become a nationwide phenomenon.

How Restaurant Week Works

Depending on where your restaurant is located, Restaurant Week varies. In general, the concept is that local restaurants partner up with chambers of commerce and local tourist organizations to promote a week of lunch and dinner specials.

Typically, restaurants offer reduced prices for a prix fixe menu, for both lunch and dinner. In theory, what a restaurant loses in check averages they would gain in sales volume from the increased foot traffic.

Some data reports an increased volume as high as 50% during restaurant week – though some owners are skeptical of whether or not they’d see the same result.

And to meet that skepticism, we offer you our latest guide. Your complete playbook on how the best restaurants have turned Restaurant Week into a smashing success – both in traffic in the door and building loyal regulars. Get your copy of Make The Most Of Restaurant Week today.

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In a perfect world, Theresa would spend her days reading good books and writing all the time... and she'd own all the shoes her heart desired. When she's not on the hunt for shoes, you can find this Rhode Island transplant on the hunt for food that comes close to "Long Island". Her favorite? Caffe Dolce Vita in Providence's historic Federal Hill.
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