GAYLORD — petoskey news review Restaurant Week in Gaylord comes as the area’s eating establishments are facing difficult conditions.
A lack of workers, rising prices for food and the lingering effects from the coronavirus pandemic have left restaurants struggling in the area. The Gaylord Area Chamber of Commerce, which sponsors restaurant weekApril 18-24, has only six eateries lined up for this year’s promotion. petoskey news review
They are Alpine Tavern & Eatery, C.R.A.V.E. Pasta Pizza Pub, Culver’s, Firehouse Subs, Jet’s Pizza, and the Pine Squirrel. More information can be found at the chamber’s website.
The event usually begins with the Taste of Gaylord, an in-person affair that features food and beverages from restaurants and other groups that the public can sample. After consulting with members and restaurants, Sarah Harding, the chamber’s marketing and event specialist, said this year’s Taste of Gaylord was postponed.
“Everyone is operating with a skeleton crew and they really didn’t have the staffing for an on-site operation,” said Harding.
Recently in a posting on social media, Andy Behrenwald, the owner of Gobblers, said he would close the Gaylord restaurant in part because of a lack of personnel. petoskey news review
“We’ve lost some restaurants in the last two years,” Harding said. “(Gobblers) didn’t have the staff for the Gaylord location indicating they couldn’t ask their family to work seven days and 90 hours a week. I have a tremendous amount of sympathy for that.”
Behrenwald intends to keep the Waters location open, saying on Facebook “there still are (seven) loyal employees left from (the) Waters staff that worked in Gaylord this winter to keep the location open. Waters is a newer and larger building, without the city problems.”
The restaurant business in Northern Michigan, the state and the nation is in a subdued comeback following mandated closures and restrictions on operating hours and capacity to contain the spread of COVID-19.
In January, the Michigan Restaurant & Lodging Association released state data from a nationwide survey of more than 4,000 restaurants by the National Restaurant Association.
According to the survey, since the beginning of the pandemic restaurants have:
Accumulated additional debt
Fell behind on expenses
Are less profitable
Other key findings include the majority of restaurants surveyed have not experienced a complete sales recovery to pre-pandemic levels. Sales volume in 2021 was lower than it was in 2019. And only 23% of operators reported a same-store sales increase between 2019 and 2021.
Higher menu prices attributed to sales growth in 2021 as operators were forced to offset sharply rising costs Customer traffic levels also remained below 2019 levels for most restaurants.