As the saying goes, "the most expensive thing in a restaurant is an empty seat." Area restaurateurs will try to combat that in 2012, with unique atmosphere and special pricing to bring more patrons through their doors. Officials with the New York State Restaurant Association say 2011 was a challenging year, with wholesale costs jumping 12 to 14 percent. Restaurants say spending on corporate parties is down so they're trying to capture the upscale market. Statler City is open and the Hotel Lafayette should open this spring with an upscale steakhouse. Restaurant owners say people are willing to spend money on dining out as entertainment. Customers can save money in 2012 by taking advantage of specials early in the week, from Mondays through Thursdays, as restaurants try to fill seats.
That's not leaving area theatres starving. 2011 was a record year for season-tickets at Shea's Performing Arts Center. More than 13,000 season tickets were sold.
Operators of The Riviera Theatre in North Tonawanda say variety is the key to success. Since senior group bookings dropped off in 2011, The Riviera is booking more international shows, along with children's programming this year.
You can read more in this week's Business First.