VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — 41 Virginia Beach restaurant owners are seeking a better year as the COVID-19 pandemic rolls on. They hope the first Restaurant Week of 2022 brings in more customers to help their bottom line.
Virginia Beach Restaurant Week goes from Jan. 17 to 23. Participating restaurants have special menus with $5 and $10 breakfasts, $10 and $15 two-course lunches, and $25, $35, $40 three-course dinners.
Restaurant owners are still dealing with the impacts of COVID-19. The need for more staff and customers are even more prevalent since the COVID-19 pandemic started two years ago.
“We need people to know that everyone is back open. We’re struggling a little bit but we’re all still open," said Icehouse Restaurant owner Doug Dubois.
Dubois has been part of restaurant week for 17 years. Dubois said for the last two years he’s had to work twice as hard to keep his employees safe from COVID-19.
“I had one lady, I just had to go run over a test kit because I bought a bunch of them for my employees in case they need them. So she says she’s not sure if she has it or not," said Dubois.
Dubois is not the only business owner hoping to get new customers and employees.
“The restaurants are basically on their own surviving with their own life preserver right now," said Virginia Beach Restaurant Association Executive Director Martha Davenport.
Davenport said Restaurant Week is an important way to reconnect with customers.
“Every restaurant is hiring, We have restrictions of our supply chain. If you can’t get into the grocery store my restaurants can get it either and we’re seeing price increases," said Davenport.
Dubois is staying confident he will get new customers this week and hopes other restaurant owners stay optimistic.
“Just keep pushing forward. Don’t hang your head down, walk proud and we’re all gonna get through this together," said Dubois.
Davenport added the struggles facing the restaurant industry are nationwide and hopes everyone supports local restaurants for every city in Hampton Roads.
Downtown Norfolk has also started its restaurant week with 14 restaurants participating.