Charleston Restaurant Week lives on with changes from the pandemic

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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – For the past 11 months, restaurants have been among the many struggling businesses working to stay afloat, but as Charleston Restaurant Week starts up, the hope is that more will be able to experience what Charleston has to offer.

Of course the 10 day long event will have a different look and feel for all participants. Taking the pandemic into the equation, the event has been expanded from just dining in to include takeout options.

For Jonathan Kish, the CEO of Queen Street Hospitality Group, he’s noticed an uptick in business just one day in. He said a lot of their to-go business was brand new customers who stated they were thankful for the carry out option because they did not feel comfortable going to restaurants to eat just yet.

Kish explained that having all 3 businesses participating in restaurant week was a no brainer as takeout was their saving grace for keeping their businesses afloat during the pandemic.

The to-go programs we are doing at all 3 restaurants 82 Queen, Florence’s Lowcountry Kitchen, and Jalisco Taqueria have really saved the businesses. So without doing to-go, it’s a significant chunk of our business, and so looking at restaurant week, it was a no brainer. We’re going to offer this deal to-go which we’ve never done before and it’s going to help all of us you know survive this month. 

Jonathan Kish, CEO Queen Street Hospitality Group 

Though the margin run in restaurant week is less, it gets many businesses through what would be their slower days following the holidays. Kish said the first few weeks of the new year tend to run dry for restaurants as many tend to not have the means to spend more on themselves after the holidays.

With events such as SEWE no longer on the books for 2021, Kish said they need to continue to push through.

The main goal is butts in seats, you’ll hear that phrase in any restaurant but whether it’s butts in seats or it’s to go boxes out the door. That is the goal, to keep the revenue following through the business, keep the employees engaged, and keep them having paychecks coming as well.  

Jonathan Kish, CEO Queen Street Hospitality Group 

For those who wish to still go in person to the restaurants, you are asked to wear a mask upon entry and until you are seated. Additionally, you are asked to social distance when able to.

Restaurant week is continuing through the 17th. For a full list of participating restaurants and their specials, click here.

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