Sales and Promotion

Every March and August, restaurants in the Boston-area offer discounted prix-fixe menus as a way to lure customers into the restaurant as part of the well-promoted restaurant week. While it doesn’t cost anything for a restaurant to participate in restaurant week, they pay an annual membership fee to the Greater Boston Convention and Visitors Bureau. In exchange, the restaurants receive free promotion and marketing through the GBCVB website and other affiliates.

For many, it seems like a no-brainer to participate. Many of the new and trendy restaurants have no trouble filling seats even during the slow months, but more seasoned restaurants welcome this burst in business.

The restaurants benefit from participating in that they get free marketing and promotion. And diners tend to be more open to trying new restaurants during this period, so the restaurant has the chance to lure new customers into becoming regular patrons.

Like this and any other promotion, the added business can definitely help the top line – even with the reduced prices, revenues pick up significantly. The real question is: does the added business do enough for the bottom line – with the cost of participation as well as the higher food and labor costs?

As a business owner, you must decide if this promotion can effectively increase business. And if not, does the promotion offer other long term benefits beyond the momentary uptick in sales?

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