By Angie Sommer, ZFA Structural Engineers[dropcap]S[dropcap]an Francisco Restaurant Week is one of dozens of events throughout California that showcase one of the state’s most notable contributions to American culture: food. From Mendocino to Santa Barbara to Temecula, cities and counties gather local restaurants to participate in a week(ish)-long event where they offer prix fixe lunches and dinners that showcase their best foods and beverages. Restaurant Week events typically occur in (and sometimes throughout) January, which was officially deemed San Francisco Restaurant Week by the tourism board of the State of California in 2010.
San Francisco Restaurant Week (SFRW) has been going on since 2015—though for 13 years before that it was called “Dine About Town.” This year, the event took place January 18–29; nearly 130 restaurants participated in the festivities, including such notable establishments as Roka Akor, Schroeder’s, Delarosa, Aaxte, and for the first time, Wayfare Tavern (one of my personal SF favorites!).
This year there were four menu options that restaurants could choose to offer:
- Lunch: $15 or $25 (2+ courses)
- Dinner: $40 or $65 (3+ courses)
Each year, the SFRW website lists which restaurants are offering meals and at what price, and each restaurant’s website typically indicates their special SFRW menu(s). Menus often feature signature dishes, but sometimes they also include off-menu items, new dishes, or special offers. Typically, the value of an SFRW meal is a good deal compared to what the included items would cost separately.
For diners, SFRW offers a new and fun way to try out different San Francisco restaurants. There’s also typically a contest each year whereby diners who eat at four or more SFRW restaurants (and order the SFRW menu selection) can enter into a contest to win $1,200 in gift certificates from participating restaurants. I entered in 2015 but didn’t win (shucks!).
For restaurants, the event is a marketing program that increases traffic to their businesses by both giving repeat customers a fun treat and offering new diners a reason to come by (and maybe even become regulars). The Golden Gate Restaurant Association, the organization that puts on SFRW, notes on its website that the 2016 SFRW event drove over 26,000 seated covers, $1.1 million in revenue for participating restaurants, and 48 million media impressions. Not bad for a ten-day event!
With 2017 SFRW behind us, we can start looking forward to the 2018 event, which is sure to be a win-win for both restaurants and diners.
Angie Sommer is an associate at ZFA Structural Engineers, a 60-person engineering firm with five Bay Area offices and a broad range of experience in the commercial, educational, residential, retrofit, and hospitality sectors. In her spare time, she volunteers on a variety of industry committees for organizations including CREW SF and the Structural Engineers Association of Northern California, where she is the co-chair of the Structural Engineering Engagement and Equity (SE3) committee. She also helps people write wedding vows, ceremonies, and speeches via her business, Vow Muse (vowmuse.com), which was featured in the New York Times in June 2015.
This article will also appear in The VIEW, the quarterly publication jointly curated by the three Bay Area chapters of Commercial Real Estate Women (CREW)—CREW San Francisco, CREW East Bay, and CREW Silicon Valley. CREW is a nationwide business networking organization dedicated to the advancement of women in commercial real estate. For chapter news, events, and membership information, visit the Bay Area member organization websites at crewsf.org, creweastbay.org, and crewsv.org.