Dinner and a show go together like dinner and a show.
A week or two ago, I FourSquared that I was at the famed NY Dessertery, Serendipity. (Has anyone come up with the verb for updating your FourSquare yet? Squared? Four-ed?) When I left the shop, with a few thousand caramel calories in my tummy, there were still several families waiting outside for a table . . . and they were all clutching Playbills.
The next day, I walked into my favorite Sushi restaurant around 6 PM (I figured the fresh fish would balance out the sundae from the night before . . . that’s how it works, right?). The restaurant was packed.
Of course it was. It was pre-theater.
I don’t have the exact stats, but I’d bet that more than 50% of theater attendees go out to dinner before seeing a show. The two events go hand in hand. They are linked like Santa Claus and Christmas, weddings and honeymoons . . . the US and oil.
So if theaters and restaurants are so codependent, and since we are both perishable inventory industries. . . why don’t we do more together? Sure, a few shows here and there do check-stuffer promotions, or 10% off a meal with a ticket stub. But there has got to be more that we can do.
When our matinees are hurting, should we have a promotional month called the “4 Course Lunch” promotion, where the 4th course is a show? Should every show have a restaurant buddy that it can cross promote with, and even share a few media buys, or e-mail blasts? Could you set up a commission program with the wait staff of a nearby dining establishment to encourage them to send people to your show?
Great food, like great theater, leaves the diner totally fulfilled.
Perhaps our two industries could join together to help fill more of each other’s empty stomachs and empty seats.