KANSAS CITY, Mo. — KC Restaurant Week kicks off on Friday, but it will look a lot different during the pandemic.
There are more than 170 restaurants participating in the 10-day event. Jazz Louisiana Kitchen is one of them.
Christian Ahmed, assistant manager at Jazz, said COVID-19 restrictions of 50% capacity and closing at 10 p.m. each night has decreased dine-in services, but takeout orders are up 600%. He expects that trend to continue for Restaurant Week.
This year, many participating restaurants are offering their Restaurant Week deals for carryout and delivery as well as dine-in service.
“We’ve hired extra staff for our to-go side. We are definitely overstaffed on that just for — we are prepared for that,” Ahmed said.
Bill Teel, executive director of the Greater Kansas City Restaurant Association, said for the first time in 12 years, organizers considered canceling KC Restaurant Week because of the coronavirus.
“We thought it was important to go ahead and do it because it’s going to help restaurants, some of which are on the edge,” Teel said. “It might give them that little boost to help him make it through.”
Ten percent of Restaurant Week meal sales are split between three charities. The Don Bosco Centers is one of them. The organization is seeing increased needs in the pandemic.
“They do a lot of Meals on Wheels that helps senior citizens and a lot of them can’t get now that you know, and they don’t feel safe going out, so it’s very important to raise some money for that charity,” Teel said.
Many restaurant staff look forward to this for an opportunity to rake in some extra tips.
“They know that, and they’re prepared to work as hard as they possibly can and make that money in the end. They’ll be very grateful,” Ahmed said.