INDIANAPOLIS — This week is big for area foodies now that Devour Indy has begun. More than 100 restaurants are taking part in the promotion by giving deals and special priced fixed menus. While the annual food fiesta is expected to bring heavy foot traffic to restaurants, it comes at a difficult time for some businesses.
“Labor shortages are still very much real, and we ask people to extend some grace and kindness,” said Patrick Tamm, president and CEO of the Indiana Restaurant and Lodging Association (InRLA). They are the organizers of Devour Indy.
Unfortunately, some establishments passed on Devour this year, telling InRLA that they can’t keep up with the demand they already have.
“We had multiple conversations with multiple restaurants in the region on that topic,” added Tamm. “Our labor challenges are still very there and present.”
Across the city, many restaurants are still hiring. None the less, Devour Indy is a big economic driver for these places, and an opportunity too good to pass up.
“When you look at it as free advertisement, to say, ‘Hey we are still here!’” explained Festiva general manager Merriam Al-Jundub. “At this time, we are still short staffed, consistently looking for front and back of the house. Enough to get us through this.”
Some restaurant groups like Patachou Inc. sit out other area promotions like Indy Burger Week, however, they say Devour Indy is different.
“They provide so much support for the restaurants in terms of marketing and promotions, features, from the media blitz to engaging influencers to come out and support. They do a lot of leg work,” said Maddy Dickerson, marketing director at Patachou Inc.
“They don’t pigeonhole you into doing any sort of value based pricing for your menus. They allow us a lot of flexibility and creativity to do what works for us.”
Patachou has four different concepts taking part in Devour Indy. They are even bringing back some old menu favorites just for the event. After just one day of the promotion, they are already seeing Devour pay off.
“We saw a huge influx of customers. I think even larger than Summerfest last year,” said Dickerson.
“Definitely see a significant amount of people come out,” added Al-Jundab talking about their promotion. “For $50, each person gets a margarita, an appetizer, share two entrees, and a dessert.”
If you head to Devour Indy’s website you can search for specific cuisines. It will also let you search by owner in case you want to support female and Black owned businesses.