Restaurant Week is an event in which area restaurants feature special fixed-price menu options for lunch and dinner. It is held annually or bi-annually in over fifty cities. Typically, these lunches and dinners feature three-course meals under $30 and $40, respectively. Whether you’re looking for affordable date ideas or just wanting to try a hot new restaurant without breaking the bank, Restaurant Week could be a good deal for you. Or is it?
As with any item being offered at a discounted price, you should do your research. What was the cost before the discount? Is it something you had planned to purchase anyway? If you’re on a tight budget, does this fit into your planned spending?
Restaurant Week IS a Good Deal when:
You eat at an otherwise pricey restaurant
Grill 23 in Boston is one of the best reviewed steakhouses in the city; its tasty dishes come at a pretty high price. On a given night, an appetizer, entree, and dessert a la carte can cost an average of $50 or more. At $33.12 for dinner during Boston Restaurant Week, it’s a deal worth sinking your teeth into.
You’re eating lunch
Not every participating restaurant offers a Restaurant Week lunch menu, but the best deals can be found at the places that do. A three-course lunch can cost less than $25, and many participating establishments offer a light lunch with 2 courses for about $15 — a super affordable splurge!
Restaurant Week is a BAD Deal when:
Your fixed-price options don’t add up to savings
Here in Boston, Max Brenner, famous for its incredible chocolate concoctions, features some of its regular menu items for Restaurant Week. A regularly priced appetizer, entree, and dessert from their year-round menu adds up to less than $10 more than the Restaurant Week price. So why fight the crowds? For a few more dollars, you get the flexibility of the entire menu. (Let’s be honest — you’re probably just going to order three courses of dessert, anyway!)
You’re not taking advantage of the meal’s larger size
Remember those pants you got on sale because they were so cheap, it felt crazy not to buy them? And they’re still sitting in the back of the drawer because you didn’t really need or even want them after all? Don’t let your dinner suffer the same fate! You don’t want to order food you know you won’t be able to eat just because it’s a great price. If you’re not going to eat all three courses, signing up for Restaurant Week is probably not a good deal.
Restaurant Week can be a great deal and a fun time in the right situation. Check OpenTable to see when Restaurant Week is happening in your nearest metro area, and bon appetit!
Is there a Restaurant Week in your city? Share your most memorable Restaurant Week story with us!