Restaurant weeks see big increase in 16th year
By Lisa Brody
Creative dining offerings, an incentive program and the support of the community helped lift Birmingham's annual Restaurant Week event.
The two-week event, which took place from Monday, January 25 through Sunday, February 7, was the 16th year the Birmingham Shopping District (BSD) sponsored the event as an incentive to entice diners to visit the city's restaurants during a slow time of the year. This year, approximately 20 of the city's establishments offered unique menu items prepared by specialty chefs, with loads of options in how diners could enjoy them. Birmingham restaurants went above and beyond to provide a safe and comfortable dining experience, from curbside pickup, carryout, take home meal kits, heated outdoor dining, and when available, indoor dining.
In addition, as a thank you to those supporting the city's restaurants, the Birmingham Shopping District (BSD), which sponsors Restaurant Weeks, provided diners the chance to earn $25 for each $50 they spent at participating restaurants, with a maximum of $100 in Birmingham Bucks, which they can then redeem at a wide range of retailers and restaurants in the city.
Beth Hussey, owner of Hazel, Ravines and Downtown, reported this Birmingham Restaurant Week as the most successful they’ve experienced since opening three years ago.
“The Birmingham Bucks promotion was well-received and worked out great for us. We actually sold out of some of our menu options and once indoor dining returned, we were booked solid,” said Hussey.
Francesca Walz of Rugby Grill reported similar news. “During the first week of the promotion, we did really great carry-out business, seeing an uptick in orders, especially for lunch. Once indoor dining returned during the second week, we were fully booked.”
Planthropie, participating for the first time this year, reported seeing a lot of new faces during Birmingham Restaurant Week. “We were so happy to be involved this year. The Birmingham Restaurant Week event and incentives definitely encouraged the community to come in and try something new. Customers that visited us were very supportive, generous and excited about the concept this year,” said Dana Oshana of Planthropie.
“The promotion was extremely successful with the Birmingham Shopping District issuing over $40,000 in Birmingham Bucks to the community. Birmingham Bucks e-gift cards can be used at participating businesses within the district, offering an additional boost to both restaurants and retailers, even after the event itself has ended,” said Geoff Hockman, BSD board chairman.