GREEN BAY (NBC26) — Restaurant Week is coming back to Green Bay this summer. But after a year of the pandemic and a labor shortage in the hospitality industry, fewer restaurants are participating this year than normal.
31 restaurants in and around Green Bay are taking part in Restaurant Week, July 15th through the 22nd. Brad Toll, the CEO and President of the Greater Green Bay Convention & Visitors Bureau says that's less than in a typical year.
"We have fewer restaurants that are in the program and part of that is because of the workforce shortage that the hospitality industry is experiencing," Toll said.
He says it's part of a trend he's noticed that local restaurants and hotels have become increasingly short-staffed.
"Restaurants are doing the best they can to serve people but it might take a little bit longer this year just because they're a little short-staffed," Toll said.
Cynthia Rockey, a manager at Nicky's Lionhead Tavern, says Nicky's is excited to be able to participate in Restaurant Week again this year after being shut down during last year's event due to COVID-19. But she says the tavern is also feeling the effects of the labor shortage.
She says they're short-staffed on servers and bartenders, which makes it difficult to participate in promotional events.
"I do a lot of long hours, we've got a really good team here but we are short," Rockey said.
That's why Toll says Restaurant Week is a great opportunity to support local businesses during a challenging year. Since space is limited at certain restaurants, he encourages visitors to make their reservations as soon as possible.
"The best advice we can give is be sure and make reservations in advance and also bring along a little bit of patience," Toll said.
"We're just looking forward to seeing everybody come through the door," Rockey said. "We get a lot of new faces usually which makes it a great week."