Birmingham Restaurant Week (BRW) 2021 - Winter Edition presented by Spire is set to take place Thursday, Jan. 14 through Sunday, Jan. 31. The 18-day Winter Edition seeks to further support the restaurant and bar industries during a time when it is more crucial than ever. This event will boast to-go and curbside pickup options as well as the traditional, but limited, dine-in options, as health precautions are still being mandated.
From fine dining to down-home cookin’, food and drink lovers with a taste for adventure can enjoy special two and three-course breakfast, lunch and/or dinner prix-fixe menus ranging from $5 to $50 per person – making it easy and affordable for everyone to enjoy a taste of Birmingham’s diverse dishes and sips. BRW 2021 - Winter Edition aims to keep bellies full, restaurants cooking and jobs safe.
BRW is more than eating and drinking, it is about supporting local restaurants and giving people an opportunity to enjoy the South’s most vibrant culinary destination by offering incentives for patrons to revisit their favorite restaurants, bars and food trucks or to experience new ones. With aims to keep guests warm, fed and safe and to allow for al fresco dining no matter the weather, restaurants are making special accommodations to safely serve diners during the winter by offering outdoor high-powered heaters, cabana tents and “igloos” to expand upon outdoor and patio seating.
According to the National Restaurant Association:
- One in six restaurants, representing close to 100,000 units, are closed either permanently or long-term, and one in three restaurants will close by year end.
- In Alabama, the leisure and hospitality industry has accounted for 49 percent of all jobs lost since March.
- Now, the state’s $9 billion restaurant economy is at a more severe risk as over 75 percent of Alabama’s 8,620 eating and drinking locations are in danger of closing permanently amidst the ongoing pandemic.
- With business conditions deteriorating, assistance is critical for the survival of many restaurants as 209,900 jobs could be lost.
- Twenty-one percent of Alabama operators say it is unlikely their restaurant will still be in business six months from now, if there are no additional relief packages from the federal government.
The Birmingham community should use their voice on behalf of local restaurateurs to support the Restaurants Act that if passed will generate $1.8 billion economic benefit for Alabama.
Because of the negative effects that COVID-19 had on the restaurant industry, BRW 2020 – held Aug. 14-31 – strived to go above and beyond to make certain that participants saw meaningful results. Post-BRW survey statistics showed a 54 percent average increase in sales for participants vs. recent non-BRW weeks. According to Matt Viscaino, owner of Tortugas Pizza - a first-time BRW participant, the local pizzeria saw a 125 percent increase in sales during BRW vs. a recent non-BRW week. Further, when comparing its sales as a participant in BRW 2020 vs. sales from 2019 during the same time as a non-BRW participant - they saw an impressive 141 percent increase in sales - in a pandemic!
With almost 60 participants, BRW 2020 had a whole new recipe with the new to-go and curbside pickup options. Only locally owned businesses were allowed to participate, and menus included family-style meal options, cocktail kits and to-go alcohol, easily some of the biggest successes of this summer’s event. Giving back to the community has always been an essential component for BRW with more than $75,000 raised for local nonprofits in its 11 years. Organizers donated $2,500 to the Community Food Bank of Central Alabama after BRW 2020 to help aid in its mission to end hunger tomorrow.
Organizers are excited to announce the unofficial list of approximately 50 Winter Edition participants, as applications are still open to allow restaurants, bars and food trucks to register for the event. (See release.) Menus will be unmasked on Jan. 4 on the Eat/Drink page of the BRW website (www.bhamrestaurantweek.com).
Official Hashtag: #BhamRestWeek #BRW2021