RSVVP founder Irene Briggaman said this year had such a high turnout because more diners went out to eat on the right day at the right restaurants.
“I don’t attribute it to more restaurants,” she said. “We’ve had more, but more people dined out. It was a nice day, so more people participated.”
Although higher community involvement was the main factor in success, new businesses did join the event. Coordinator Nancy Jenkins said in an email this year’s event had 112 participating restaurants.
Jenkins said Sup Dogs, Carrboro Pizza Oven and Mixed Casual Korean Bistro were new to RSVVP in 2014.
“We try to contact all the new restaurants in Chapel Hill and Carrboro in person,” she said.
Bret Oliverio, owner of Sup Dogs, said he’s always looking for ways to involve Sup Dogs in the community and donate money to charity. He said the restaurant had a good turnout on RSVVP Day.
“I think it was an overwhelming success. The restaurant was packed,” said Oliverio. “I don’t see why we wouldn’t do it every single year.”
The event always falls on a Tuesday so that the restaurants’ best days are not taken, said Briggaman. She said this is especially helpful for the smaller businesses that may have a hard time parting with 10 percent of the profit on a busier day.
Briggaman said the best recruiters are customers who go out to eat and ask why the restaurant doesn’t participate in RSVVP Day.
Briggaman said they have a hard time getting fast-food restaurants to participate, but they hope to expand and add new businesses next year. She said Red Bowl and Village Burgers in University Mall are a few they hope to see join.
Jenkins said some restaurants can’t participate because they are part of a national chain that has rules against joining the event. She also said some businesses take a year off and then rejoin again.
“We try not to pressure people to be part of RSVVP,” she said. “We like it to be an easy project for them.”