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This is Fred Ball for Zions Bank, speaking on business.
There has been a great deal of discussion regarding the status of downtown Salt Lake City. There is concern about the number of vacant storefronts and the declining foot traffic and activity in the central business district.
There has been a great deal more interest in the vitality of the area since February 2002 and the excitement generated in the area by the Winter Olympics. The Downtown Alliance and the Mayor's office have been concentrating on programs that can revitalize and stimulate the heart of Utah's capital city.
Karen Olson is the owner and general manager of the Metropolitan Restaurant. (We featured her on a past Speaking on Business.) Well, she is proposing a very interesting and creative way to stimulate downtown. She is promoting an idea she calls, "Restaurant Week." This is a program used successfully in large cities like New York and Atlanta.
Restaurants would be encouraged to present an agreed to fixed price menu for a set number of courses. Special emphasis will be placed on value and great quality. The restaurants and the city would promote the event and then compliment the offered fare with street music and other activities in the downtown area.
There are a great many restaurants in the Central Business District, or the "CBD." Many are very successful, but much of the business is during the lunchtime and business could be better at the dinner hour. The fixed price promotions would be on the dinner menu.
Karen recognizes that one major problem is the price difference between the various eateries. Some have entrées that cost about $20.00, while others offer pizza and drinks for under $15. The owners of the restaurants feel; however, that some type of program can be finalized that would favorably impact all of the restaurants in the area and accomplish the purpose of the promotion æ and that is to generate more patronage of the CBD eating establishments.
Plans are now being formulated and Karen Olson hopes that the campaign could be kicked off with a special springtime event.
For Zions Bank, I'm Fred Ball. I'm speaking on business.