Restaurant Week is upon us and for many, this means an opportunity to sample some of the finest restaurants (and mostly out-of-reach price-wise) in the city at reasonable prices. For servers, this can also mean hurried crowds and fewer tips from what is known in the industry as “dippers.” For diners, this can mean overbooked restaurants and missed opportunities. Here are five tips to make your and your server’s restaurant week a positive one:
1. Book in advance. You can actually make reservations at NYCgo.com two weeks in advance of restaurant week which will give you a better chance at getting into the restaurants of your choice.
2. Understand how it works. Servers and management have been met with hostility when diners come to the restaurant expecting a legendary dish from the menu. Oftentimes, the menu is simplified and there may not be the same dishes or there are variations of them. To avoid disappointment once you are already seated, compare the restaurant week menu to the regular menu before you make your reservation.
3. Maximize your deals. Places like Open Table and American Express offer dining deals whether it’s points, gift certificates to claim or cash back offers, so make sure you use them to maximize your rewards benefits.
4. Lunch is generally a better option. Insiders agree that the lunch menu at any restaurant during restaurant week is a better option due to the slower volume which means more choices. It’s also easier to get reservations. And if that’s not enough, it’s $13 cheaper.
5. Tip generously. This can be tricky because the standard 20% on a meal that has been significantly discounted seems well, standard. Generally speaking, you should tip the waiter based on the regular price of the meal, not the discounted one.
Do you have any tips for Restaurant Week? Comment below.