Many restaurants and bars are enjoying a long-awaited bounceback of business. From Cary to Raleigh and beyond, restaurants are seeing sales substantially shooting up.
ELAINA ATHANS: One restaurant is reporting that sales have nearly doubled in the last couple of weeks. And as you could imagine, this is a long-awaited bounceback of business. From the heart of downtown Kerry, where sidewalks are filled with tables and chairs, to Raleigh and beyond, restaurants are seeing sales substantially shooting up.
MICHAEL GARCIA: It's been such cabin fever for so many people that they are just thrilled--
ELAINA ATHANS: Taverna Agora tells me the numbers are back to 2019 levels. And last week, they made about 12,000 more than the same time that year. The weather has been beautiful. It's leading people to seek out spots with outdoor dining. Also, more folks are fully vaccinated.
MICHAEL GARCIA: I've had a lot of people come in that tell me this is the first time they've been out in over a year to come out to the restaurant and they feel uncomfortable about it, and then they don't want to leave. They just sit here--
ELAINA ATHANS: The owner of La Santa Mexican restaurant tells me he's no longer taking reservations, and now, it's first-come, first-serve. Even Mondays are busy. That's typically the slowest day of the week. While there is all this extra business, it's a double-edged sword.
MICHAEL GARCIA: The labor market is so tight. I mean, everybody in the hospitality industry is struggling for people.
ELAINA ATHANS: Many owners and general managers are having a hard time getting staff back on the job.
MICHAEL GARCIA: It was a not banner year for the restaurant industry last year, so everybody's enjoying the fact that we've got this resurgence. Now it's just about making sure we can meet that demand and do our best to keep up with the influx of people that are coming in.
ELAINA ATHANS: Multiple restaurants and bars are now hiring. Even a nail salon owner telling me he, too, is searching for employees. In Raleigh, Elaina Athans, ABC 11 Eyewitness News.