'We're here': Eateries calling for community support during Triangle Restaurant Week

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- Triangle Restaurant Week is returning and offering folks have a chance to try new places at a discount.

Small businesses say they could use support during this time. Many spots are struggling to cope with compounding problems.

"Our main goal as a restaurant is to support the community by giving them a place to come create memories and support our staff by having a full house with events like this, it's equally as important to us that community knows we're here, that we're doing it. We're in Triangle Restaurant Week because we're excited to serve the community," said Urban Food Group District Manager TA Biagi.

The celebration is taking place even though there is a labor shortage and the cost of food is shooting up because of inflation.

The price of meat has surged 20%.

These factors are leading to changes for Triangle Restaurant Week.

Some spots have increased the price by $5, which brings the total per person cost to $40.

Other locations are offering a two-course meal instead of three.

"That's because of the higher food costs in the area," said Triangle Restaurant Week Founder Damon Butler.

There is some analysis showing that not as many people are dining out these days.

ABC11's analysis of cellphone location data, provided by the technology company Safegraph, estimates that visits to restaurants in Durham and Wake counties fell 60% between January 2020 and April 2020.

Customers have returned, but not nearly to pre-pandemic levels.

In December, the estimated number of restaurants visits was still down 32% in Durham County and 15% in Wake County.

Butler said he hopes the event serves up a much-need boost for the industry.

"Restaurants make up the community we live in. People come here from all over the country to live here and the restaurants are a big part of that. Over the last two years, we've had a tough time, and Triangle Week just gives a little more attention back to restaurants that maybe we haven't patronized before in the last couple months," said Butler.

About 60 restaurants are participating and that's down about 30%.

The event runs through Jan. 30.
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