To help kick off this year’s Washington State Fair, the Puyallup-Sumner Chamber of Commerce is rolling out a new marketing campaign.
The campaign is called Puyallup Restaurant Week, where restaurants in the area participate in four weeks of themed menus meant to draw in some new diners.
“We were prompted to do (Restaurant Week) because of the fourth weekend of the Fair,” said Shelly Schlumpf, Puyallup-Sumner Chamber of Commerce president. “While the Fair is a wonderful economic engine for our city, what we’re trying to do is offset a bit of that in the downtown core and draw people to our wonderful restaurants.”
The Washington State Fair opens on Labor Day weekend this year, one weekend earlier than usual. This gives people an extra chance to make it to the Fair, said Schlumpf.
The chamber is hoping to get 20 restaurants to participate in the campaign. Currently, there are five restaurants on board: Anthem Coffee & Tea, Arista Pasta, TK’s Irish Pub and Eatery, Giorgio’s Greek Cafe and Charlie’s Restaurant & Lounge.
Benjamin Herreid, owner of Arista Pasta, noticed last year that business was slower during the Fair’s run.
“The locals tend to shy away from coming downtown because of traffic,” he said. “We’re hoping (Restaurant Week) will offset some of the slowness that might be brought about by the Fair.”
Puyallup always gets a bit busier during the fair, Herreid said, but not everyone is aware of the restaurants downtown. Restaurant Week could be a way to get the word out.
The first week of the campaign, which starts Sept. 4, is called “Happy Hour All Day.” Each restaurant will have specials on some of its dishes.
The second week is called “Cakes and Pies.” This gives restaurants a chance to introduce a new product.
The third week is “Small Bites and Brews,” and wrapping up the last week of the campaign, through Sept. 30, is “Wine, Desserts, and More.”
Already the participating restaurants are being creative in each’s deals and dishes.
Anthem Coffee & Tea plans to introduce some new featured beers, house-made chocolate cake, and mac and cheese balls.
Matia Long, director of operations for Puyallup’s Anthem Coffee, didn’t think twice about being involved in Restaurant Week.
“We have a great relationship with the Chamber of Commerce,” Long said. “(The campaign) is different, and it still lets us be creative. It fits us, too, because we can do coffee, we can do beer, we can do pie, we can do all of that.”
The intention of the campaign was to make sure each restaurant was capable of creating a menu that worked for the theme of each week, said Schlumpf. Participation is free for the restaurants, too.
The chamber plans to advertise Restaurant Week on radio, billboards, digital media and more.
Since this is the first year of the campaign, Schlumpf hopes it will go over well with both the restaurants and customers.
“It’ll take a few years to perfect it,” she said. “We will see how it goes and see the response we get.”
More information about Restaurant Week is available at puyalluprestaurantweek.com. Restaurants will be added to the online list as the Chamber of Commerce finalizes participants.