The Arizona Restaurant Association is important. They’re important as a lobbying group, for sure, and they wangle discounts for member restaurants with the people who sell kitchen staples, or offer food handler training, and the like. They’ll give you information about how to open a restaurant, how to monitor your food and labor costs, and so on. A couple of times a year, they’ll create an event called Arizona Restaurant Week, where they’ll get restaurants to offer a deal to get people in the door during September, the slowest month of the year for Arizona restaurants. They’re based in Phoenix, and as much as I’d like Feast to be a part of Arizona Restaurant Week, I’d like even more for there to be a reason for us to be a part of it. We’re in Arizona. We’re a restaurant. We’re as slow as everyone else in Arizona right now, and we’d love to get a few new people in the door.
Three years ago now, we did it. We paid the ARA a few hundred dollars for marketing, donated some gift cards, gave a discount on a multi-course affair, and waited for the business to roll in. And waited some more. We waited, in fact, until Arizona Restaurant Week was over, and still saw nothing, so I researched it. There were a few dozen Tucson restaurants who participated, but I discovered that those marketing dollars we sent in went to marketing, in the Phoenix Metro area. Phoenix may not be my personal cup of tea, but I’m happy to drink a cup of tea and eat a delicious meal at any number of Phoenix restaurants. There have been some really good ones up there, so much so that I used to occasionally make a trip up for the sole purpose of exploring their restaurants.
That Tucson restaurants ended up subsidizing the marketing for a market nearly five times our size was, well, dispiriting. It’s rough enough paying an organization who’s ostensibly on your side to get people into your restaurant during the slowest month of the year, especially following the second, third and fourth slowest months of the year, and so we stopped that. It would appear everyone else in Tucson, or Flagstaff, or really every city that’s not within 10 miles of Phoenix has done the same. I looked at their website, and Arizona Restaurant Week would more aptly be called Phoenix Restaurant Week, and there’s nothing wrong with that whatsoever, but it doesn’t do us much good down here. If you’ll be in Phoenix two weeks from now, I’d wholeheartedly suggest you support one of these participating restaurants, but it seems more reasonable to me now that the small businesses in Flagstaff, Tucson, Bisbee, Sedona, Sonoita and every other town under a million people aren’t putting their hard-earned cash into a pool that the big kids get to distribute. Take a peek: 120 restaurants up there, but 120 of them are- well- up there.
Enter Sonoran Restaurant Week. While Tucson may barely be more than one-fifth the size of Phoenix, you’ll find fifty of us, as of this email, lined up and ready to offer you a reason to go out, and what’s more, we’re keeping our Local more Local. So if you’re NOT going to be in Phoenix two weeks from now, you can enjoy a deal without leaving town from the 10th through the 19th, so you have a reason now to check out a place that’s new to you, or visit old friends like us. Here we all are:
And what’s more, it benefits the San Xavier Co-op Farm:
Meanwhile, assuming Dreamhost gets this out to you within the hour of my sending it, you still have a very short time left to order Rosh Hashana food to pick up,
to contribute to our next donation run to St. Luke’s Home,
or to pick up samples for tomorrow’s wine tasting.
You also have a couple more days to get your hands on squash blossoms, or Arctic Char, duck, lobster or -lavender-chocolate mousse verrine.
So crack your knuckles, warm up your dialing finger, and give us a call at 326-9363. We miss you.
All of us at Feast