Twice a year, many of the finest restaurants in the Boston area participate in a discount promotion called Restaurant Week. Diners are offered an attractively priced "special" three course menu (typically with a few options for each course) — this year lunch is $20.13 and dinner is $38.13 This successful promotion - which is offered in many U.S. cities - packs restaurants and provides lessons that all businesses can learn from about discounting. Lesson 1: Don't crowd out full-paying customers. Restaurant Week is offered during low demand time periods - usually during the end of the summer (August) and spring break (March). Lesson 2: Don't encourage cannibalization. By this, I mean try to minimize the chance that customers who would have paid full price take advantage of the discount. For instance, No. 9 Park, a top Boston restaurant, doesn't include its signature "prune-stuffed gnocchi" as part of its Restaurant Week menu. Instead, it offers new menu items that are likely lower cost. As a result, die-hard fans of prune-stuffed gnocchi can't order it at a discount. Get the full story at Harvard Business Review