North Texas businesses brace for larger crowds and more business as Labor Day weekend activities begin.
An online survey conducted by AAA across the country in early August found that about 32% of Americans will be traveling for Labor Day weekend. Among those who plan to travel, 82% will take the car.
Douglas Azevedo flew to North Texas to visit his friends.
“The restrictions where we’re from, New Jersey, New York – it was really high,” Azevedo said. “To see things go back to normal is a relief.”
Kelsey Erickson Streufert of the Texas Restaurant Association said the next few days will be critical for small businesses. For restaurants, in particular, Erickson Streufert said August and September are among the slowest months for business.
“All of these summer trips end or come to an end,” she said. “People are going back to school, so there’s definitely a cooling going on. Labor Day is a bit of a shock.
The jolt is much needed, she added. After two years of challenges from the COVID-19 pandemic, restaurants across the country have started to feel the pinch of inflation.
Every restaurant in Texas has seen its costs rise significantly, according to the Texas Restaurant Association.
“86% say their total food and beverage costs are higher than they were in 2019. Of course, this is the biggest cost driver for restaurants. 81% say their labor costs have increased. 80% say their utility costs have gone up,” Erickson Streufert said Saturday. “Obviously that impacts their revenue and the margin that restaurants are able to capture right now. The good news is that while we’re seeing these cost increases, restaurants have been able to absorb some of it. So , we’re actually seeing menu prices increase at a slower rate than what you see in grocery stores.”
Jersey Lilly in Fort Worth Stockyards sees an increase in foot traffic this Labor Day weekend. The store specializes in local and handcrafted jewelry, according to store employee Catherine Vest.
“From now on [Saturday], I mean we’ve had up to four different families in this store,” Vest said. “It’s not a department store. It’s two people working in the back, and I’m thinking… are there enough people working here?
The rush of business is welcome as stores and restaurants continue to operate on Labor Day weekend.