Here’s an idea from Milwaukee that any small town or rural region could copy: Downtown Dining Week.
Downtown restaurants are offering a special rate, lunch for $10, and dinner for $20 or $30. That keeps it simple.
My town of about 5,000 people has a downtown sandwich shop, a lunch counter at the drug store, and a dining area at the downtown grocery store. Not to mention the senior citizens center which also serves lunches. (Alva friends, straighten me out if I forgot a downtown eatery!)
So, not enough for a week, but we could tie it in with First Friday Art Walk, or a special event on a Saturday.
Don’t want to emphasize downtown? How about a Local Dining Week, where you promote independent (non-chain) dining options?
Or how about Small Town Dining Week, where you combine forces with nearby towns? My area could do Monday in Alva, Tuesday in Cherokee, Wednesday in Waynoka.
This could be put together by a couple of restaurants working together, a couple of chambers of commerce, or a regional organization.
Put your thinking cap on. How would you adapt this in your town or area?
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Becky started Small Biz Survival in 2006 to share rural business and community building stories and ideas with other small town business people. She and her husband have a small cattle ranch and are lifelong entrepreneurs. Becky is an international speaker on small business and rural topics.