‘Restaurant Week’ helps businesses recover, despite omicron surge

Published: Jan. 16, 2022 at 8:04 PM EST|Updated: Jan. 16, 2022 at 11:29 PM EST
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Despite record-breaking inflation, people continue to pump money into the local economy, helping businesses continue to rebound from years of COVID-19. Further bolstering the restaurant industry is “Restaurant Week” that Jesse Andrusia, assistant general manager at Butcher & Bee, says is bringing in new patrons.

“Obviously, numbers over last year are higher because of COVID,” Andrusia said. “In this restaurant and others, there’s been a decent uptick in first-time guests.”

This time of year is generally one of the slowest for restaurants which is why “Restaurant Week” takes place in January. With one out of every six dollars spent on the hospitality industry in Charleston, “Restaurant Week” is more than just a treat for locals; it’s a lifeline for restaurants and an advertisement for tourists.

“Anybody that hasn’t been to Charleston needs to come and visit Charleston because you’ll like it,” Restaurant-Goer Anthony Salisbury said. “The food is great down here. There’s a lot of fancy restaurants down here. You’ll love it down here, so just come down and visit.”

A timely economic boon is just what the industry needs as year-over-year sales and profitability are still generally down from pre-pandemic levels according to the National Restaurant Association.

South Carolina restaurant owners surveyed show 76% say it will take at least seven months before things return to normal if they return at all. That survey was taken before the surge of omicron cases shattered records.

Still, there are positive signs on the horizon.

“I know we are only in the second or third week of January, but it is our strongest week so far,” Andrusia said. “I’m happy to see people out and about being able to dine out again.”

“Restaurant week” ends January 23.

A link to a full list of participating Charleston-area restaurants can be found in this story.

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