Summer Restaurant Week kicks off Sunday in Miami Valley despite employee shortages

Miami Valley News

DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – Some Miami Valley restaurants are gearing up for a busy week with the start of Summer Restaurant Week, as many more continue to face staffing shortages.

Summer Restaurant Week hosted by the Miami Valley Restaurant Association is half the size this year, and even the event preview was canceled this week because of low staff.

“We have only a little over 20 at this point in time, just because of staffing issues, we’re usually well over 40 restaurants,” Miami Valley Restaurant Association Executive Director Amy Zahora said.

Assistant kitchen manager at Figlio in Kettering Adam Lupp said they have just about every position open.

Though short staffed, Lupp said Figlio is up to the challenge of Summer Restaurant Week.

“It is tough to be short staffed, especially during busy times, especially with the Fraze starting up and Restaurant Week, but we make it work, we have a really good staff here,” Lupp said.

An Ohio Restaurant Association poll done at the beginning of the month reports 60% of restaurant owners said finding workers is a top concern.

Wheat Penny is also participating in Restaurant Week, and also is in search of workers.

In order to keep up with what they expect to be a busy week, Wheat Penny Chef and owner Liz Valenti said they will serve just their Restaurant Week menu instead of the full menu.

“We certainly are feeling it at both Wheat Penny and Meadowlark, and I know other independents are as well, so this is a bit of a challenge for us to pull off in terms of staff,” Valenti said.

These restaurants don’t want staff shortages to deter customers from going out to dinner.

Valenti said Wheat Penny is using this week to try out some new dishes and give people a great Wheat Penny experience.

“It’s a great way to bring new people into the restaurant, to show off what we can do, for people to try restaurants they’ve wanted to, this is a great week to do that here in Dayton, it really is a great week,” Valenti said.

Lupp said Figlio is looking forward to introducing new customers to the restaurant and the business boost that comes along with it.

“Due to the pandemic and everything, we did see a decrease in business, as did so many restaurants in the area, and so Restaurant Week is a great time to bring in new people,” Lupp said.

Summer Restaurant Week includes a list of over 20 restaurants in the Miami Valley.

Each restaurant will have a special three course meal deal for $20.21, $25.21 or $30.21. A dollar from each meal purchased will benefit SICSA Pet Adoption and Wellness Center.

Summer restaurant week starts Sunday, July 25 and runs through August 1.

For more details about participating restaurants and their menus, click here.

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