100 fewer restaurants participate in Queen’s Feast: How they’re overcoming staff shortages, supply chain issues

Published: Jul. 19, 2021 at 5:53 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - The popular Charlotte Restaurant Week, also known as the Queen’s Feast, is back.

The 10-day event kicked off on Saturday, allowing people to enjoy multiple course meals for just $30 to $35 dollars at an array of restaurants across the Charlotte area.

Restaurant owners say they are excited to participate after the feasts scheduled for last July and this January were canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

But they are also facing more challenges than ever.

Staffing shortages are forcing restaurants like The Manchester in South End to re-think their Queen’s Feast operations.

“We tested it on Friday going full board and that was a little more chaotic than normal, so on Saturday we scaled it back, we had to close off our patio section,” Christopher Harris, assistant general manager at The Manchester, said.

Harris says liquor shortages are also making it tough to keep his bar stocked.

“I spend two to three hours a week driving around to multiple stores to pick out what we need, or we have to switch to different products,” he said.

The challenges are standing in the way of many restaurants participating.

The last Queen’s Feast was in January 2020 and it included 143 restaurants, amounting to a $10 million dollar economic impact over 10 days.

This year for the July 2021 feast, just 42 restaurants are participating.

One of them, Red Rocks Cafe in south Charlotte, has been involved since the first Queen’s Feast in 2008.

“It was very scary for us to schedule it this year because of staffing levels,” John Love, co-owner of Red Rocks Cafe, said. “We have about 25 to 30 percent less staff than we had in 2019.”

Love says they are also making adjustments.

“We had to completely disable our to-go business and our reservation system because we were maxed out,” he said.

But despite the uphill battle, he says the customers make it worth the fight.

“Our customers have been very understanding, they’ve all been in a great mood, and they’ve been gracious, they’ve been patient, and we haven’t had a hard time with customer satisfaction,” Love said.

Restaurant owners say they are already seeing a boost in business.

The feast continues through Sunday, July 25.

For details click here.

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