Foodies can breathe easy because the eighth annual TT Restaurant Week is on and will take place from September 25 to October 4.
However, because of covid19, there will be some changes. Instead of in-house dining, people can enjoy meals from their favourite restaurants via take away, curbside pick-up, or delivery.
TTRW founder Shira Mohammed said the organisation was hoping that, with the borders closed, the covid19 situation would have “calmed down” and restaurants would be able to operate with limited dining. But it did not, and the team was considering cancelling TTRW as they did not want to encourage people to congregate.
However, they did a survey and realised people were still looking forward to TTRW. People still wanted to participate and try specially priced menus they only got to experience once a year, even if it was at home.
“People really look forward to having fancy food from a restaurant you wouldn’t normally dine at but, because it’s Restaurant Week, the menus are less expensive. For people who value food and creative concepts of new and exciting menus, it’s the one time of the year to take advantage.”
The foodDrop virtual restaurant week earlier in the year gave TTRW the opportunity to test the market. She said the food delivery app saw an increase in traffic and they were able to meet the increased demand in a timely manner. However, foodDrop does not cover all of TT and the app does not allow for curbside pick-up or take away.
TTRW listened to its foodies and included the option for people to pick up their own food.
She said TTRW was also important to restaurants. Because of covid19 restrictions, several restaurants closed down and others had to adapt to the new style of “dining” and provide new services.
“Some fine dining restaurants, when you go there you can’t get a doggy bag you know. When you leave food on your plate and you ask to take that home, you getting all kinds of looks. So, they’ve come a really long way and it goes to show to survive we need to be able to change and adapt.”
In doing so many restaurants now had partnerships with food delivery apps or an internal delivery service.
TTRW also tweaked and expanded the menu categories to make it more affordable. There is a new $50 category with specials from “quick service” restaurants. The were reductions in some categories will other remain the same, and they include all taxes.
“Overall, the price points are lower simply because we want people to be able to afford to do these things.”
She said some restaurants would include an alcoholic beverage with their meals but because people would not be dining on the premises, that, as well as service charge, was not included in the price.
Without giving details she said the TTRW team also drastically reduced its overhead and have gotten sponsorship from Republic Bank, which also helped to reduce the menu prices.
“Restaurants are very grateful for the opportunity because this will boost their sales. Granted the profit margins will be reduced but hopefully the boost in sales will outweigh their expenses and generate some profit to carry them for the rest of the year because we are not sure when restaurants will be able to open again.”
Each menu will have information on how to order, and she stressed that people should expect an additional charge when ordering for delivery.
TTRW is still in the process of signing on restaurants to the event but have confirmed Kay Bees Stonebaked Pizza, Freeport; Paul A Grant's Butcher's Steakhouse, Cunupia; and Spiked Café at Movietowne in San Fernando.