STOCKTON, California — With staffing shortages, closures and re-openings, restaurants are looking for any positivity they can during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Now comes the 13th annual Stockton Restaurant Week and it's just in time to give restaurants the boost they've been looking for.
"(We) just want to be as supportive as we can to these local businesses and show that we're here as Stockton, we are community and we want to support each other. So we are very grateful that we get to do this," said Amy Alpers of Visit Stockton.
Stockton Restaurant Week features nearly 30 different eateries with all kinds of cuisines. Last year, it was carry-out only; this year, it is back to dine in.
The restaurants will feature exclusive dining deals during the ten day event.
The American Waffle Diner on east March Lane is one of the participants. In business since 2009, they have a tight-knit staff. Unlike many other restaurants still looking for workers, American Waffle Diner is not even hiring. Manager Alyssa Saing said the promotion has been a plus.
"I think this is actually helping us a lot because today has been busier than the last few days," said Saing.
The restaurant has developed a loyal following like customer Melanie Ornelas who said she is comfortable dining inside.
"I'm vaccinated. All three of those. So I still stay safe. You know keep my mask on me at all times," Ornelas said.
To encourage people to dine, those interested can sign-up online for special promotions. Those checking into three different restaurants will qualify for a chance to win a $25 gift card.
At Squeeze Burger in North Stockton's Lincoln Shopping Center, the promotion appears to be working. The restaurant, known for its Cheese Skirt Squeeze Burger, has seen an uptick in business.
"Last week in the morning we were completely dead and now I feel like we're having our normal flow of people," said server Michelle Fajardo.
Stockton Restaurant Week runs from January 14-23. To sign up on line for meal deals and for a list of participating restaurants, click here.