The Student News Site of Sonoma State University

Sonoma State Star

The Student News Site of Sonoma State University

Sonoma State Star

The Student News Site of Sonoma State University

Sonoma State Star

    Sonoma County hospitality industry hopes ‘Restaurant Week’ will make up lost revenue


    Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Sonoma County will continue the tradition of supporting local businesses Feb. 19-28 during their annual Sonoma County Restaurant Week. 

    According to Sonoma County Tourism the vast variety of participating restaurants, “will present fantastic dishes and culinary creations available for outdoor dining and take out” for those willing to safely visit these restaurants.”

    Retrograde Coffee Roasters Co-Founder Danielle Connor said Sonoma County Restaurant week, “… was created to drive more traffic to restaurants and help people discover new places during a time of year that’s seasonally very slow.”

    With the recent lifting of California’s stay-at-home order, Aleena Decker, Sonoma County Economic Development Board’s (SCEDB) conference and communications coordinator said she, “expects our local community to support their local restaurants safely.” 

    Decker, along with other SCEDB representatives, “encourage people to help keep restaurant staff and other customers safe by wearing a face covering when required and following public health orders if they are to visit these restaurants.” 

    For those not willing or able to safely visit these restaurants during Sonoma County Restaurant Week, Sonoma County Tourism is encouraging individuals to support these local restaurants by buying a gift card. 

    In Sonoma County, restaurants have been hit the hardest of businesses by the COVID-19 pandemic. Pre-pandemic, the top consumers of many restaurants’ were those of the senior community and those who were in Sonoma County as students. 

    “Since the pandemic happened, we have not been seeing a lot of our usual senior and student customers in the shop as much. I think that has been the hardest part of this chapter for all of us on the Retrograde team”, Connor said. 

    Sonoma County restaurants have had to completely change the way they do business in order to accommodate the conditions of the pandemic. 

    “Many restaurants have used the pandemic as an opportunity to expand their services, including adding online ordering options, expanding take out options, offering delivery, and creating online gift cards”, Decker said. 

    Kailey Priest, Kivelstadt Cellars’ marketing manager, said, “… with a lot of hard work and incredible local support, we managed to survive without letting go of any of our staff and open our doors for dine-in on June 5th, 2020. From then, it truly has been a rollercoaster. From opening and then closing again, to the devastating fires that raged through the place we all call home, 2020 did not hold back.” 

    According to Sonoma County Tourism’s Director of Global Media Relations, Birgitt Vaughan, “In 2020, Sonoma County Restaurant Week generated $6.37 million in restaurant revenue and local taxes for Sonoma County, with more than 13% of diners coming from outside of Sonoma County.”

    Many local restaurants hope this year’s annual Sonoma County Restaurant Week is a time in which they can expand their businesses and make up for lost revenue. “We are very hopeful that Sonoma County Restaurant Week will drive more traffic to our restaurant”, Kivelstadt Cellars’ Kailey Priest said. 

    Scowley’s Burgers is a new restaurant in Sonoma County that opened in October. Robert Gaustad, Scowley’s Burgers’ owner, said. “It has been a very difficult few months . Opening during a pandemic was not ideal because we did not have a loyal customer base that we could depend on through these times.”

    However, Gaustad is optimistic that Sonoma County Restaurant Week will “… Help my business by bringing more awareness as to who we are, and then we can build from there.” 

    The Sonoma County Restaurant Week said they, “anticipate that our local community will take advantage of the many safe options available to support their local restaurants, such as take out, delivery, gift cards for later use, and outdoor dining” which will help local restaurants to make up for the revenue they may have lost during the pandemic. 

    If you have the opportunity, be sure to check out the restaurants participating in Sonoma County Restaurant Week and support local restaurants by safely utilizing their outdoor dining, getting take out, or getting gift cards.

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