One major gripe about DineLA's restaurant week is that not enough caliber restaurants are participating, and the ones that are offer mediocre menus. Think about it: No one's giving away their best dishes for free—or $25 or $34 for that matter—so the menus will be limited, but hopefully still showcase what that chef/restaurant is all about. There are many other reasons why restaurants participate (extra marketing, the chance to get more business during slow times, attract new guests) or not (too much fuss for what it's worth, can't serve quality when charging so little, makes staff unhappy). But there's one big whopper that probably trumps them all.
It's not that all the great restaurants weren't targeted by DineLA to participate; they probably were. But a restaurateur has to pay $1000 and $750 for any location after to particpate in the campaign. Do the math. We're told the fee goes towards the heavy marketing and PR push, and it's not uncommon to charge for restaurant week participation (other cities do it). But from a little research, we found that $1000 is on the higher side. Some restaurants, especially the large corporate groups, have this in their budget, others don't. We know one chef/owner of a very successful, seasonal, market-friendly restaurant who said they wouldn't participate simply on principal, because of the high fee. But we're hearing from others (Grace, Noe) that restaurant week has been a huge success for them. Spend money to make money. Good, bad or indifferent? The comments line is open.
· Restaurant Week: What's to Love? [~ELA~]
· More about DineLA's inaugural Restaurant Week [~ELA~]