Restaurant Association Sets 2020 Restaurant Week

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Restaurant Week logo
— Courtesy NB Restaurant Association

At a special meeting of the Newport Beach Restaurant Association Business Improvement District on Wednesday morning, the Association set the dates for the 2020 Newport Beach Restaurant Week and voted on officers for the BID’s 2019-20 fiscal year.

The dates for the 12th annual Restaurant Week are Jan. 13-26, 2020. A kick-off event for Restaurant Week will be held on Jan. 9, tentatively set for the Lincoln Experience Center in Fashion Island.

The staff of Dine Newport Beach, a strategic marketing initiative cooperatively created and managed by the Newport Beach Restaurant Association and Newport Beach & Company, suggested adding weekend brunch to the Restaurant Week activities. Normally the participating restaurants offer only lunch and/or dinner.

The costs of meals to consumers was suggested as $10 to $25 for lunch and $30 to $50 for dinner, with brunch costs to be determined at a later date.

The Restaurant Association BID had discussed in the past adding a charity component to Restaurant Week and the idea was once again raised at this week’s meeting. Staff suggested partnering with Second Harvest Food Bank, which serves three million people a year in Orange County.

Restaurant BID members discussed partnering with Second Harvest Food Bank during Restaurant Week.
— Photo by Sara Hall ©

Staff proposed that each restaurant could make donations directly to Second Harvest based on how many meals they sell during restaurant week. For example, for a $20 meal, each restaurant could donate $3, which buys a meal for Second Harvest. For a $40 meal, restaurants would donate $6, the cost of two meals to Second Harvest.

Restaurant Association Director Matt Meddock of Sessions West Coast Deli noted that he has done a charity component at his restaurant in the past, and was successful by telling a customer that if they would like to buy a meal for the food bank, it’s listed on the menu as a $3 charge.

“Customers would rather do that,” said Meddock. “Each restaurant could put something on the bottom of their restaurant week menu that says ‘would you like to donate to Second Harvest,’ add it to their check, and raise a lot more money.”

Meddock says the charge rang up as a point of service. It was listed on the customer’s check, and they get taxed on it. When the promotion ended, he wrote a check to the food bank.

A discussion with the other directors ensued about various ways of collecting funds for Second Harvest. Director Jim Walker of The Bungalow Restaurant agreed that the Restaurant BID should tie into giving back to the community, but he wondered about also helping the homeless population in Orange County, and mentioned the homeless shelter being built by the Salvation Army.

Café Jardin - Newport Beach Restaurant Week
Café Jardin dish during a previous Newport Beach Restaurant Week.
— Photo courtesy Café Jardin

Another suggestion was made to change the fee structure of the restaurants to participate in Restaurant Week, and increase it so that the extra fee could be the BID’s donation to charity. That way it would come out of the Restaurant Association coffers and not each restaurant. Another suggestion was to raise money at the kickoff event by adding some sort of live or silent auction.

“I don’t think the restaurants should have the onus to collect the money,” said Walker.

All directors agreed to add the charity component, so staff will return with new suggestions for the next Restaurant Association BID meeting in September.

Once the Restaurant Week discussion concluded, the Restaurant Association BID nominated and voted on officers for the 2019-20 fiscal year.

Eunjoo Pleunneke of Balboa Lily’s agreed to continue as secretary, and Phil Crowley of Modo Mio restaurant agreed to continue as treasurer. Kenyon Paar of Five Crowns accepted the nomination as vice president, while current vice president Juan Carlos Godinez of On the Rocks Bar & Grill was nominated in absentia as president. All officers were unanimously approved by the board.

Comprised of over 400 restaurants and foodservice operators, the Newport Beach Restaurant Association was founded in 1995 and is an official Business Improvement District of the City of Newport Beach. The Restaurant BID is a non-partisan, non-profit organization that brands Newport Beach dining and promotes the commercial welfare of restaurants and the foodservice industry in the City of Newport Beach. Every foodservice establishment is assessed a levy to be used toward marketing, advertising and public relations for their business and dining in Newport Beach.

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