Saturday, December 3, 2022

Coolinary Month sparks business as restaurants continue to struggle from the impacts of the pandemic, inflation and labor shortages

NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) – New Orleans restaurant owners say they’re still recovering from the effects of the pandemic, but events like Coolinary Month will help businesses by encouraging locals to dine out during the slow summer months.

Uptown Atchafalaya Restaurant is excited to welcome in diners looking for a deal.

“Honestly, it’s not only a benefit to Atchafalaya, but it’s a benefit to New Orleans, the residential people,” said general manager Jeremy Gulledge.

He said the summer months are usually pretty slow for the restaurant. It’s hot and people tend to stay indoors or not travel to New Orleans in the summer. Coolinary Month helps bring people to the table by offering customized lunch and dinner menus offering multiple courses at a special price.

“Keeping the lights on is definitely a number one priority for us, so we appreciate that as well,” Gulledge said.

It has not been easy. Owner Rachel Jaffe Tocco said they are still dealing with the impacts of the pandemic on top of supply chain issues and labor shortages.

“We’ll put out an ad, get a number of people interested, call them for an interview, and maybe they don’t show up,” she said. “Or they show, they come for an interview several times and then they don’t show up for the first shift. It’s madness.”

Coolinary hopes more locals will take advantage of the restaurant’s offerings.

“It’s been a really tough time for our restaurants, so Coolinary is an opportunity for us to just give an extra promotion to restaurants,” said Kelly Schulz with New Orleans & Co.

Deanie’s Seafood uptown is also in recovery mode, coming off the peak of the pandemic and a year after Hurricane Ida.

“This post-COVID world is a whole different animal,” said owner Chandra Chiifici.

In addition to being short staffed, she is also dealing with inflation and supply issues, which prevent her from being open seven days a week.

“The biggest issue since Ida and still going is oysters. This is the biggest obstacle in the state. The price has skyrocketed and has not really decreased,” said Chiifici. “It’s been really nice, I mean it’s a good spark for the month of August because usually everyone is going back to school around here, so it gives people an incentive to get out.”

Coolinary Month offers dining deals through August 31 at more than 86 restaurants across the city.

Click here for a list of participating restaurants.

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Copyright 2022 WVUE. All rights reserved.

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