Tallahassee promotes "Capital Cuisine" to boost Spring sales

Apr 9, 2012

The early legislative session has left many Tallahassee eateries hungry for springtime customers.  Tom Flanigan reports nearly two-dozen local restaurants are offering special deals starting this Thursday to lure more diners into their establishments…

Many people in Florida’s Capital City didn’t seem to mind that state lawmakers were in town two months early because of redistricting this year.  But Visit Tallahassee head Lee Daniel says the time shift left the local hospitality industry with a bleak springtime outlook…

“We realized we were going to have quite a challenge both with our hoteliers and our restaurateurs - and traditionally March and April would have been very busy times of the year – a challenge of trying to fill those hotel rooms and restaurant seats during times when normally we would have the legislature in session.”

Daniel and his merry marketeers came up with a three-pronged campaign.  Prong one promotes the many springtime events going on now.  Prong two focuses on the many outdoor activities available in the area.  The third prong, Daniel says, involves food….

“One of the things that immediately impressed me about Tallahassee as a destination was both the quality and quantity of dining experiences that are right here in our backyard.”

Hence, the “Capital Cuisine Restaurant Week” promotion…

“April twelfth through twenty-second right here in Tallahassee.  We’ve got 22 participating restaurants, they’re going to offer selected prix fixe menus either for lunch or dinner offering two or three course meals for either $15 or $25 and this is in addition to their regular menus.”

That’s a good deal for diners.  And Michelle Wilson who heads the local chapter of the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association, says it was a good deal for her organization, too….

“We went out and basically asked our current members to become involved with this as well as trying to get new restaurants that perhaps weren’t members of the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association to become involved and out of that we gained some new members.”

State Association President and CEO Carol Dover hopes the promotion does more than just lure a few hungry out-of-town visitors…

“This is a time for you who live in this community to do something for your community.  This is an opportunity.  The restaurant industry, people think many times, ‘Oh, they have these long waits and they’re doing really well,’ but the reality of it is the industry national standards are about a two-to-a-three-percent profit margin.”

Long-time Tallahassee restaurant owner Andy Reiss says that’s why his establishment is part of the program…
“But most importantly we need a bump, too.  We need more people to come out to eat and we need more people to come out to support our local restaurants.  So please.  Other communities do this all over the country; it’s a great idea, come out and support your local restaurants.”

The Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association web site, as well as Visit Tallahassee’s, has a complete list of the eateries taking part in the Capital Cuisine promotion.