For the past 15 years, Arizona Restaurant Week has served as an important event for the Arizona Restaurant Association to fulfill its mission of supporting and advocating for the hospitality industry while also presenting the dining community with some incredible dining experiences for amazing prices.
However, much has changed since the initial event, and the association has adapted to follow suit. In the wake of COVID-19, the hospitality industry is still recovering from the extreme loss it suffered during that time.
It’s no secret that the restaurant industry and the people who keep it running every day have suffered greatly as a result of the pandemic. Arizona Restaurant Week is an opportunity for residents and visitors to help this industry that has a dynamic impact on the economy as a whole.
Prior to COVID-19, in 2019 alone, Arizona’s local restaurant industry encompassed 10,354 establishments, represented 229,482 employees with a payroll of a combined $4.9 billion, and boasted annual sales of $13.4 billion.
Talk about an economic powerhouse! Through the pandemic, the state’s culinary community continued to show its support through take out, gift card purchases and attending events like Arizona Restaurant Week, even in modified versions. The local hospitality industry could not continue without the support of these loyal diners.
The Arizona Restaurant Association’s Arizona Restaurant Week provides a powerful way to support the industry. Fall 2021 Arizona Restaurant Week takes place Friday, Sept. 17, through Sunday, Sept. 26, and promises to give culinary adventurers a wide variety of dining options from five-star restaurants to independently owned, chef-driven hidden gems — and everything in between.
With more than 100 participating restaurants representing an array of eclectic cuisines, diners can enjoy something different for every meal during Restaurant Week — or revisit their favorite spots again and again.
The prix fixe format this year offers a complete three-course meal with three price alternatives — $33, $44 or $55 per person. The additional $55 price point was added to account for rising prices across the industry. It also allows restaurants greater range to provide diners with an even more elevated dining experience.
Many establishments use Arizona Restaurant Week as an opportunity to offer diners dishes not usually on their menu, allowing restaurant chefs to get even more creative and showcase their culinary chops.
Some restaurants also offer exclusive wine pairings with their Arizona Restaurant Week menus for an additional cost, and many restaurants are still offering their ARW menus in a take-out format. All in all, there are many ways that diners can customize their ARW experiences to suit their preferences.
As the hospitality industry continues to rebuild with support of events like Arizona Restaurant Week, it’s important to recognize others outside the industry as well — the community of people right here in the Valley that have been personally affect by COVID-19 and those that are experiencing homelessness.
This year, the Arizona Restaurant Association has partnered with HonorHealth Foundation to present the “Dine Out, Help Out” program in conjunction with Fall ARW to help make a difference in the lives of those who need it most right now.
When dining out during Restaurant Week, diners will receive a QR code with their bill. To support this cause, they can simply scan the code with their smartphones and make a donation in any dollar amount right then and there.
Donations will directly support HonorHealth Foundation’s Desert Mission, which provides local residents with services and programs including a food bank, early childhood learning center and adult day program. Those that want to support this cause can do so directly by visiting arizonarestaurantweek.com/donate/ anytime through Sunday, Sept. 26.
In difficult times such as what the world has experienced since COVID-19, it’s vital that the community and its residents can come together to lift one another up and support when they can.
Diners can visit arizonarestaurantweek.com for a complete list of Fall Arizona Restaurant Week participants and their menus.
The Arizona Restaurant Association welcomes new and returning restaurants to participate in Arizona Restaurant Week. Applications can be completed online at arizonarestaurantweek.com/restaurant-participation.
Editor's note: Steve Chucri is president and CEO of the Arizona Restaurant Association and represents county District 2 on the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors.