Tuesday, September 18, 2007


I want a Restaurant Week in Columbus.

Restaurant Week began in 1992 in New York City to coincide with the Democratic National Convention when restaurant sales were sluggish. Since then both large and small cities have begun hosting their own versions of Restaurant Week. Restaurant Week in NYC has become the largest culinary event in the country.

The premise is simple. For a determined length of time participating restaurants create lunch and dinner menus for a set price. Lunch is typically between $20 and $25 and dinner about $30 to $35. Alcohol is additional and guests can always order of the normal menu. Depending on the demand, most Restaurant Weeks take place twice a year, last one to two weeks, and helps raise funds for a local charity.

So why should Columbus host a Restaurant Week?

Of the top 25 most populated American cities only nine of them including Columbus do not host a Restaurant Week. Come on…even Milwaukee has one.

Columbus is a great restaurant town and a week dedicated to celebrating local restaurateurs and chefs is appropriate.

Allows guests to take advantage of fine dining at a discounted price.

Great marketing tool for restaurants since many patrons will be first time guests. Word of mouth testimonials are the best form of advertising.

Promotes a business trickle down effect. Patrons visit new neighborhoods and discover stores, restaurants, and other businesses they did not know existed.

Gets people on the streets and enjoying their city.

Because I am tired of hearing from friends in other cities how much they love their Restaurant Week.

I am still waiting for Experience Columbus, the natural candidate to develop a Restaurant Week, to respond to my inquiry. However, since the receptionist did not know what a Restaurant Week was I strongly doubt they are cooking anything up down there.

Other cities that host Restaurant Weeks are: NYC, Houston, Philadelphia, San Antonio, San Diego, Dallas, Indianapolis, San Francisco, Austin, Baltimore, Fort Worth, Charlotte, Milwaukee, Seattle, and Boston. Check them out.


PJ said...

From what I found out from the Central Ohio Restaurant Association (CORA), they already tried it.

"We did one in 2001. It was quite expensive to produce – I raised $15,000 in sponsorship dollars which don’t go far to promote an event in Columbus. My counterpart in Dayton does one twice a year (they just completed one last week), but they have better luck with free local media partners.

We do produce the Columbus Food & Wine Affair which is taking place this year on September 7 at Franklin Park Conservatory – www.foodandwineaffair.com "

cmhindependent said...

I think the business climate and energy of city has dramatically improved since 2001. Not only has the number of fine dining restaurants increased but news coverage today is especially focused on the resurgence of downtown living and entertainment. Additionally, an organization has to commit to growing an event until it becomes an established tradition- one year is not enough. Most of our most cherished special events started off pretty tragically.
As for advertising, traditional, mainstream media partners are always a challenge to attract but there are other outreach tools available in order to reach the masses including popular websites, blogs, neighborhood associations, etc.
And by the way, I am still waiting for the appropriate Experience Columbus department to still contact me with an answer about their efforts with a Restaurant Week.

PJ said...

Cool good luck! I hope it works, I've enjoyed RWs in other cities.

Anonymous said...

Experience Columbus is including restaurants in its Experience Columbus Day (Oct. 5-8) Many restaurants throughout town are offering 25% off food during that long weekend. This is the first year restaurants are participating in the event, which offers free and half price admission to tourist spots all over the cirt. Maybe something larger will grow from that next year.

cmhindependent said...

This is definitely a start but I think that the complimentary cultural walking tours (Strut Your Stuff) would better compliment the Experience Columbus Day (ECD) since most of the attractions are also opening their doors free of charge. I think the restaurants of Columbus should have their own focus and the three days of ECD is not enough time to experience all the great offerings here in town. They seem to be trying to incorporate two great ideas into one and not being able to market them appropriately. But you are right, this is a start....Also, still no answer from Experience Columbus regarding Restaurant Week.