It's the most wonderful time of year for every food lover when Restaurant Week 2024 finally comes to your city. For restaurant operators, it means eager guests will return to old and new restaurants nationwide for great meals at a discounted rate. While the restaurant industry will always have dedicated followers who'll dine out no matter what, Restaurant Week 2024 is also a great way to reel in new guests who'd never imagined dining at your restaurant. Make sure you know when Restaurant Week is in your city so you're not caught off guard.

Unfortunately, there are some changes in the restaurant industry that make it difficult to bring in new customers while keeping operations running like clockwork. Nearly 90% of restaurant operators feel that inflation might pose a significant challenge for their restaurants.

The silver lining? Restaurants can overcome rising costs by implementing some simple solutions bringing new guests through the front door. From simple changes to your menu to implementing different marketing efforts and making the most of your restaurant point-of-sale system, here are some simple tricks to ensure your restaurant won't fall behind during Restaurant Week.

1. Earn profit with the perfect restaurant menu

Everyone loves a menu that gets the essence of your restaurant down to the bone. However, even if you build a menu for Restaurant Week that could be admired in a museum, you'd still need to make sure your menu items stay loyal to your restaurant's branding. It wouldn't make sense to include fries on a sushi restaurant menu, so why spend valuable resources and time plotting that out for your restaurant and kitchen?

Restaurant week coffee savings at a coffee shop restaurant.
Guests love seeing a discounted menu for Restaurant Week. | Photo by Croissant / Unsplash

Before Restaurant Week kicks off, look at your best sellers and their unique flavors to see why guests feel encouraged to order those dishes above others. Even if there are other options for a good meal, planning your restaurant's menu is a great way to stand above competitors with similar products and services. You can even use various social media platforms to gauge how excited guests become for certain meals. It's a great way to get both dedicated followers and casual scrollers to discover your best dishes in real time beyond the usual traditional marketing efforts.

2. Save time and money with online ordering

Burger and fries in a takeout box
Online ordering is a great way for more profit during restaurant week. | Photo by Quin Engle / Unsplash

Since guests are always changing their minds, your restaurant will sometimes need to adjust operations to meet their different needs. While some changes seem overwhelming, the easiest and most reliable change any restaurant can implement is an online ordering system. Online ordering will always offer a consistent stream of income while saving you tons from delivery app commission fees. Online ordering is particularly ideal for Restaurant Week since it’ll give your guests more ways to order and enjoy some good food without worrying if there's a place for them to sit at your restaurant.

Even after Restaurant Week has ended, online ordering helps you keep a steady pace for fulfilling to-go orders. The steady stream of online ordering will also ease up your restaurant during its most hectic moments, especially when your front-of-house staff are busy dealing with a loaded dining room. Just remember to keep some parking for curbside pickup drivers to make sure your parking lot won't feel overloaded.

3. Change up your online marketing campaign

Restaurant Instagram page showcasing restaurant marketing efforts.
SpotOn Client Mesero isn't afraid to show appreciation for their different guests on social media.

Even though we'd love to see Restaurant Week celebrated as a national holiday, not every potential customer knows that participating restaurants are offering special discounts for that week. That's where a strong social media marketing campaign comes in. By setting up your restaurant's social media platforms, interacting with followers, and posting content about Restaurant Week, you help build your name out there for future guests to discover as they casually scroll on their smartphones.

You can even include unique promotions and contests based on the season—such as these fall marketing ideas—on social media, with a fun campaign like offering a photo contest for guests. All they need to do is take a photo and tag your restaurant on Instagram to win a free dessert or some other small reward. Since some social media sites promote your posts based on how many likes and comments they receive, these interactions are a great way to reach beyond your target audience as well.

Don't forget to claim your business page on different review sites. According to SpotOn's free guide to restaurant marketing, utilizing your Yelp and Google Business profiles are a simple and effective way to interact with hungry guests searching for something to eat during Restaurant Week. Similar to your social media platforms, when you have control over your restaurant's online presence, you have control over your restaurant's reputation as well.

4. Implement a loyalty reward program

Row of guests at a restaurant talking and enjoying their time.
Fill seats and reward guests for their patronage. | Photo by Kevin Curtis / Unsplash

Now that you've done all the marketing work to get guests dining for Restaurant Week, try implementing a loyalty reward program to get them back for a second meal some other time. Loyalty programs are a great way to reward guests who show their dedication to your restaurant by offering little rewards for their multiple visits. It's a great way to show appreciation for their patronage. Food trucks and other quick service restaurants can implement the classic free drink for a tenth purchase. Table service restaurants can offer unique menu items for guests who've signed up on a loyalty program.

And when you utilize your restaurant POS system, you can even use loyalty programs to build a comprehensive customer database. This database has a ton of uses for your restaurant beyond Restaurant. You can see your most successful menu items, and build email lists for a future email marketing campaign, all while your top guests are rewarded for their loyalty.

5. Streamline operations with the latest tech

Tiny white alarm clock held in someone's hands like a calming bird.
Get your staff schedules ready for Restaurant Week. | Photo by Lukas Blazek / Unsplash

Restaurant Week will always bring in a huge crowd, which might overwhelm your staff if you aren't prepared with the best tech. The last thing anyone wants is to fall further and further behind when there's a long waitlist of hungry guests eager for a bite. With the right restaurant point-of-sale system and integrated waitlist app, you can get more accomplished in your day, all while without feeling drained from one single task.

A restaurant point-of-sale system is more than a glorified cash register, credit card reader, and receipt printer. With SpotOn's POS system for restaurants, you get a full utility belt of tools to use and serve your guests, all while saving you extra money. You get instant reports of your sales data, easy labor management software for your restaurant staff, automated reservations for easy table management, and more at your digital fingertips.

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