Gourmet restaurants could be hit by Ohio football game on New Year’s Eve

It has become a tradition for many to dress up and dine in a fine restaurant on New Year’s Eve. But with the Ohio State Buckeyes taking the Georgia Bulldogs in a peach bowl at 8 pm Saturday night, some restaurants are worried they might not see as many customers this year.

According to John Barker of the Ohio Restaurant Association, New Year’s Eve is usually one of the best nights of the year for fine dining restaurants.

“They can order an extra bottle of wine, or maybe some champagne, and that’s a good profit for restaurants and bars if they can do that, fine drinks. As a rule, people relax a little on holidays, ”said Barker.

But this year, those cuter restaurants fear that diners will go to sports bars and other places where they can watch the big game, Barker said. But he thinks some Ohioans might eat earlier or make other adjustments.

“There are enough people, believe it or not, that they are not Ohio football fans. I don’t know any of them, but apparently they are,” Barker said. “And hopefully they are the ones making the reservations, or they will just be wearing headphones while they listen to the game.”

Some hotels are also wondering who will show up on New Year’s Eve, especially with OSU’s performance in Atlanta. But for Lisa Garner, this is not a problem.

Garner, regional general manager of Concord Hospitality, says one of its hotels — the Marriott and Residence Inn near the Ohio State University campus — is fully booked thanks to a show with comedian Dave Chappel at the nearby Schottenstein Center.

Other hotels are offering traditional New Year packages to try and lure customers into their properties, Garner said. But in recent years, hotels have struggled to achieve consistency, she said.

“Hotels have definitely been affected by COVID and we are still… There are ebb and flow in our business,” Garner said.

She adds that business travel is no longer what it was before the pandemic, and there aren’t many meetings or conferences to help fill hotel rooms. In addition, she said that there is another trend, especially on New Year’s Eve.

“People are just happy to stay at home with their families or visit friends,” Garner said. “And I think it’s more obvious now that people want to stay at home for the safety of their family and spend time together.”

For example, spending time watching games together.

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