‘Restaurant Week’ drives business as local restaurants deal with inflation, labor shortage

Published: Jun. 22, 2022 at 7:56 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Restaurant Week in New Orleans brings special menus and dining deals to drive business to local restaurants as tourism starts to slow down in the city.

From June 20-26, approximately 70 restaurants across New Orleans will offer creative menus and experiences to encourage people to dine out.

With lingering impacts from the pandemic, and now rising supply costs, local restaurants are working hard to make a buck. But Restaurant Week, brought by The Louisiana Restaurant Association and New Orleans & Company, is hoping to bring in some much needed revenue.

“This helps us bring in a lot of customers, a lot of locals,” said Paige Roth, manager at The Blue Crab, one of the restaurants participating in Restaurant Week this year. “I guess more people getting out and about after COVID.”

As the temperatures rise, local restaurants begin to see a ‘cool down.’

“It really comes at a time when the biz starts to slow down,” said Kyle Brechtel, owner of Coppervine, another participating restaurant. “Business started picking up last year in 2021, and then we got into some of the labor problems and now food cost issues, so it’s kind of been one crisis after another.”

Inflation, supply chain issues, and rising gas prices have caused the price of products to go up significantly, forcing restaurants to make changes to the menu.

“We had to go up in prices a little bit,” said Roth. “Crab meat for sure is one of the most expensive things we have to buy.”

“Tuna is up 40 percent, chicken is up,” said Brechtel. “Chef told me eggs are up 150 percent, so we took a small price increase in January, but we’re really trying to absorb it as much as possible.”

Brechtel said it’s been a long 26 months of challenges for the food and service industry. These impacts, though, are not unique to only restaurants in New Orleans.

“We said, ‘Look-- We know what the challenges are right now and it’s really important that you put forward what you do best or what you do creatively, if you want to put out new menu items, do that.’,” said Wendy Waren with the Louisiana Restaurant Association.

She said an event like Restaurant Week can help restaurants out during these tough times, and provide a boost in revenue.

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