CHICAGO RESTAURANT WEEK: BEST PRACTICES & FAQS

Whether you are a veteran or a brand new Chicago Restaurant Week (CRW) participant, we’ve outlined some tips, reminders and FAQs to help you navigate the registration process and make the most of your CRW participation.

TIPS FOR REGISTRATION

What is the deadline to register?

Registration deadline is October 28, 2016: Maximize your restaurant's exposure by completing your CRW registration as soon as possible. Choose Chicago will begin promoting Restaurant Week 30-60 days prior to the event’s start date (Friday, January 27 – Thursday, February 9, 2017) through the website, social media channels, blog and other promotions. PLEASE NOTE: Restaurants will not be able to participate unless registered by October 28, 2016. No exceptions.

Menu/Gift Card deadline is December 1, 2016:Your final CRW prix fixe menu(s) and $100 dining certificate/gift card/e-certificate must be submitted by December 1, 2016 for your restaurant to be listed when the official CRW website, EatItUpChicago.com, launches in early January.

What are the CRW participation requirements?  

  • Purchase ‘Participation in Restaurant Week’ via the Partner Extranet
  • Agree to participate in the American Express consumer "Offer"
  • Complete your registration by updating the Restaurant Week ‘amenities tab’
  • Submit (1) $100 dining certificate/gift card or e-certificate

If you are unsure about your participation, contact restaurantweek@choosechicago.com or 312-567-8461. 

How will I know when I’ve met all requirements for my CRW participation?

You will receive a confirmation email once your registration has been completed and all requirements have been met.


GENERAL FAQs

Do I have to participate in the American Express consumer "Offer" in order to be part of Chicago Restaurant Week 2017? 

Yes, participation in this consumer “Offer” is mandatory in order for your restaurant to take part in Chicago Restaurant Week 2017.
American Express Card Members who enroll their eligible American Express Card can qualify to get $5 back on their statement as a credit every time they spend $25 or more in a single transaction on their enrolled American Express Card at a participating restaurant during Chicago Restaurant Week 2017 held January 27, 2017 – February 9, 2017 (the “Offer”).

There is NO COST to you to participate in the offer ($5 statement credit will be funded by Choose Chicago and American Express).

Do I have to participate in CRW for the full length of the program?

Yes, your participation in CRW is required during the full length of the program, all 14 days.

If my restaurant is closed for service on one of the CRW program days, must I open in order to participate?

No, you can keep your normal business hours. But please clearly note the day(s) that you’re closed for service in your online partner listing as well as on your CRW menu.

When will diners begin to make reservations?

The Chicago Restaurant Week website, EatItUpChicago.com, will go live early January 2017 (date subject to change). At that time diners will begin making reservations.

Why can’t I upload my CRW menu?  

You can only upload one PDF document, and it has to be under 3MB in size.  If you are participating in lunch and dinner and have two or three menus, please combine them into one document before uploading them via the Partner Extranet.

When is the last day to register?

We encourage that you to register early! Restaurants will not be able to participate if not registered by October 28, 2016, no exceptions.

How many courses should I offer on my menu(s)?

It is up to your chef, however, historically restaurants have offered a minimum of three courses. It is best to offer a few options for each course as well as include upsell items such as wine, beer or cocktail pairings. For a sample layout, please review the menu template in the CRW Marketing Resources section.

Will CRW be extended after February 9, 2017?

Choose Chicago supports the official dates of CRW, which run Friday, January 27 – Thursday, February 9, 2017. An extension of your CRW prix fixe menu beyond those dates is at your discretion and will not be promoted by Choose Chicago.

How can I get updates on CRW dates and events?

There will be updates and reminders regarding CRW and First Bites Bash sent to the person designated as the CRW contact identified at time of CRW registration. Also, we encourage you to connect with us regarding Chicago Restaurant Week by joining our Choose Chicago Partners Facebook Group.


MENU ETIQUETTE

Your restaurant will not be listed on the official CRW website, EatItUpChicago.com, unless your CRW prix fixe menu is uploaded by December 1, 2016.

Click here to download a menu template.

Include the following on your CRW menu:

  • Chicago Restaurant Week dates and logo
  • Meal Option: Lunch and/or Dinner
  • Price: lunch $22, dinner $33 and/or $44 (depending on your offering)
    • You may have a dinner menu at each price point ($33 and $44)
    • Prix fixe menu offering must be of good value
  • Tax, gratuity and beverages are not included
  • Pricing is per person
  • Hours of operation (i.e. closed on Sunday)
  • If you have had issues with diners asking for substitutions, note: substitutions to this menu are politely declined

Descriptions: Menus are pertinent to diners’ decision making so be creative and descriptive with your menu items, this might be a diner’s first encounter with your restaurant.

Saving your menu: Do not include special characters in the file name – apostrophes, ampersands and hashtags. The system will reject your menu, and it will not appear on the website.

File size & format: Your menu must be a PDF file (< 3MB), as this is the only format that is accepted on the Choose Chicago Partner Extranet.  If you are participating in lunch and dinner and have two or three pages of menus, please combine them into one PDF document before uploading.

Present CRW menu to diners upon seating: Make sure to present all diners with the Restaurant Week prix fixe menu along with the regular menu.


FAQs ON THE $100 DINING GIFT CERTIFICATE

Why do we have to submit a dining certificate?

Every restaurant must submit a $100 dining certificate, gift card or e-certificate in order to participate in the program. Deadline to submit is December 1, 2016.

What is the $100 dining certificate used for?

It will be used for promotional purposes and giveaways throughout the year via public relations, online, radio and social media.  The gift certificate must be valid through December 31, 2016. Make the certificate out to the bearer of the certificate or leave blank.  Do not make out the certificate to Choose Chicago.

What is the best way to send the dining certificate?

We advise restaurants to use certified mail or FedEx to ensure safe shipment and timely arrival. Send to: Attn: Mayela Hobbs; Choose Chicago; 72 E. Randolph St. 3rd floor; Chicago, IL 60601

Email E-Certificates to: restaurantweek@choosechicago.com

OR

Contact Mayela Hobbs at restaurantweek@choosechicago.com or 312-567-8462 to arrange for hand delivery to our office. Choose Chicago is not responsible for the dining certificate/gift card until it is received.

PROMOTE CHICAGO RESTAURANT WEEK

Use social media to spread the word!

Keep the conversation going on social media by sharing and/or re-tweeting Choose Chicago’s (@ChooseChicago) CRW posts/tweets and be sure to use the hashtag #CRW17. 

Use social media outlets to re-tweet/re-post positive customer feedback.

Create incentives for diners to return following the CRW promotion. For example, if diners return with their Restaurant Week receipt at a later date, they will receive a free dessert, drink or an appetizer.


TIPS FROM VETERAN RESTAURANT WEEK PARTICIPANTS

Educate your restaurant team (including marketing/PR, wait staff, hosts, etc.) on the CRW program details so that they’re prepared to answer any questions diners might have.

To create a more inclusive dining experience for CRW diners, call out or insert CRW menu items within your regular menu.

Add upsell items such as wine and cocktail pairings or offer supplemental dishes at an additional price to increase the total check. 87% of diners stated they purchased an add-on item with their CRW meal. Check out sponsor opportunities on how you can partner with our strategic CRW sponsors.

Eliminate daily specials during the promotional period (January 27 – February 9, 2017) so customers gravitate toward the Restaurant Week menu.

Reward staff for excellent service through incentives to keep them inspired and motivated during the CRW promotion.


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