While COVID-19 has indisputably disrupted many industries this summer, one of the hardest-hit was the restaurant industry. With statewide shutdowns and policies banning indoor dining, local eateries have been among the most financially impacted businesses during the pandemic.
This summer, the team at Visit Fort Wayne wanted to do something to help the struggling restaurants in their community. They normally hold their annual restaurant week in January, but in light of the pandemic, they decided to host a summer version of the event in an effort to encourage residents to safely support small businesses and boost the local economy.
The special summer edition of Savor Fort Wayne kept many of the same principles as any other restaurant week, though it did include a few modifications to adhere to health and safety guidelines; The biggest difference being that the event featured restaurants offering outdoor seating, as well as several carry-out options for those not yet comfortable dining out.
"Although Savor Fort Wayne is traditionally held in January, we wanted to encourage residents to support local restaurants during this challenging time," explained Dan O'Connell, President and CEO of Visit Fort Wayne. "What better way to celebrate and support Fort Wayne's outstanding restaurants than with a restaurant week!"
All in all, more than 30 restaurants participated in the event. Each offered a three-course, value-priced meal that was promoted by the DMO and picked up by several local media outlets.
One participating restaurant, Burger Bar, reported a 15% increase in new customers per day, while the Fort Wayne team saw more than 165,000 visits to the landing page during the event.