BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD)- The July Baton Rouge Restaurant Week has been canceled this year.
According to the organizer, Chris Brooks, the event was canceled due to labor shortages as a result of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Jim Urdiales, owner of Mestizo’s, was not planning on participating in Restaurant Week before it was even canceled.
Urdiales said he could not meet demands for a menu special with limited staff.
“Between the price of wages for labor and commodity prices, almost everyone is having to go up on menu prices because that’s not something we absorb,” he explained.
Besides having short staff, Urdiales said he would not benefit from Restaurant Week since the cost of food products is at an all-time high.
“Since the beginning of the year food prices, especially protein prices, have been up anywhere from 25 to 40 percent,” Urdiales said.
The bi-annual Restaurant Week allows food businesses to offer specials and welcome in customers during their slowest time of the year. Urdiales said restaurants are having a hard time catching up to lost sales from last year.
“It really is absolutely, the craziest thing I have ever seen,” he said.
After months of placing hiring signs, Urliades is offering hiring incentives.
“We have bumped the wages and salary for all employees,” he said.
The week-long event was set to kick off on July 26. Organizers hope to bring back Restaurant Week in January.