What Are the Pros and Cons of Arizona Restaurant Week?

Categories: Chow Bella

Welcome to Chow Bella's Bites & Dishes, where Valley chefs and restaurateurs respond to a question New Times food critic Laura Hahnefeld has on her mind. Have a question you'd like to ask? E-mail laura.hahnefeld@newtimes.com.

Beckett's Table
Arizona Restaurant Week, the twice-a-year event put on by the Arizona Restaurant Association, is gearing up for its nine-day fall celebration which runs from Saturday, September 21, to Sunday, September 29, with an estimated 150 restaurants participating.

The goal of Arizona Restaurant Week is twofold: give food lovers a chance to enjoy affordable prix-fixe dinners and stimulate business for the state's restaurants.

But like any ambitious dining event of this size, there are pros and cons -- for both diners and restaurants. This week, I asked Valley chefs and restaurateurs to outline what some of those might be. This is what they had to say.

See also: Chefs, What Are Your Three Favorite Local Products Right Now?

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Gio Osso,
Chef and Owner, Virtu

Pro: You're getting exposure to guests that normally don't go out that often and you have a chance to capture them.
Con: You're limited in what you can do in your offerings. The menus are priced low so it's hard to bring in exotic ingredients to show off what you really can do.

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Rick Phillips,
Owner, Bootleggers

Pro: It's a great way to attract new customers to your restaurant that have been looking to go but haven't made it in yet or are looking for a deal in order to test the waters.
Con: You can get overrun and not get to showcase your restaurant in its full-blown glory, or you have a lot of "deal seekers" taking up the seats of your normal "full paying" guests.

Chef Theresa Wille,
32 Shea

Pro: It gives businesses a chance to show people how their restaurant is different from others.
Con: It can be tricky to keep high-quality menu ingredients cost-efficient. Sometimes the tasting menu may be offered at a loss in the hopes that new customers will return. The goal is repeat business, not just one meal.

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Chef Dustin Christofolo,
The House at Secret Garden, Quiessence

Pro: Diners that have wanted to enjoy certain restaurants make it happen during this week so we see an increase of new customers.
Con: The exposure is great, although the lower price point can be a challenge and the week after is often slower.

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Speaking as a customer, I've always returned to restaurants I got to try during restaurant week and really loved, and at the least, I've found plenty of opportunities to speak well of restaurants that I've enjoyed to people looking for restaurant recommendations.

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