Dayton Restaurant Week: A tough economy and staggering inflation won’t stop annual event

Challenges brought about by lingering inflation have made struggling through the economy as tough as an overcooked steak, but that outlook won’t stop Dayton Restaurant Week.

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There are 26 in the area that haven’t allowed COVID, higher prices and staffing shortages to derail the special offers to entice customers.

“We’re offering a three-course meal to showcase our creativity on our entrees,” Alex Wolf, general manager of Basil’s on Market, told News Center 7′s Molly Koweek on Thursday.

That offer is good for seven days.

The challenge, Wolf said, is that of the restaurant’s three locations, only the Beavercreek spot is fully staffed.

“We were kind of struggling at the first of it, but we’ve had actually to hire younger people,” Wolf said.

Staffing struggles have been exacerbated by the downward turn in sales, the Ohio Restaurant Association reporting that 39 percent of restaurant owners said that sales dropped off in June compared to previous months in 2022.

“The staffing is one of the biggest issues,” said Amy Zahora, executive director, Miami Valley Restaurant Association.

Typically, as many as 40 restaurants participate in Dayton Restaurant Week.

“I feel bad for them and I want stuff to get back to the way it used to be,” she said.

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Unfortunately, a return to healthier times is not happening. The Ohio Restaurant Association’s June Business poll reports that 44 percent of the restaurant owners who responded to the poll reported shortening hours or offering fewer tables to deal with the staffing shortages.

Wolf said Basil’s has had to raise prices to deal with the upward inflationary spiral.

And several other participants in Dayton Restaurant Week have also upped prices.

“The restaurants that are part of the association, you know 90 percent of them are locally owned, independent restaurants, so they’re all entrepreneurs,” she said.

“So they’re all able to shift and get creative, you know on different ways to make things happen.”

Dayton Restaurant Week continues through Sunday.