RALEIGH N.C. (WNCN) – While record inflation costs bear down on both customers and restaurateurs, demand for dining remains high during the Triangle’s Restaurant Week.

For Leslie Roth, the assistant general manager at Midtown Grille in Raleigh, this year’s restaurant week feels more like pre-pandemic times.

“Through COVID, it was very, very rough, but we’ve definitely seen a wonderful increase in business since then,” Roth said. “People are getting out more.”

But now, restaurants are facing inflation, climbing costs to do business, buying certain foods, as well as keeping dedicated staff on board.

“I feel like employers are having to up their game when it comes to paying employees,” Mark Meis said, the general manager at Parkside restaurant in Raleigh. “If someone walks in off the street and they’re looking for a job, you know, if they’re qualified, and you tell them to come back the next day or maybe you don’t hire them immediately, they’re going to go off the road and they’re going to find somewhere else.”

At Midtown Grille, it revamped its menu, keeping supply chain availability for goods in mind.

“In doing that new menu, we had to do that based on what becomes available through any particular vendor,” Roth said.

Newly released data by the US Bureau Labor Statistics shows that the cost of food away from home increased by 7.4 percent over the past year.

Still, Roth and Meis said demand to dine at restaurants has remained high.

“This year has been tremendous,” Roth said. “We are very, very thankful that we did this (revamped the menu), it’s brought a tremendous amount of business.”

Triangle Restaurant Week lasts until June 12 and includes dozens of participating businesses offering three-course meals at a fixed rate across the Raleigh and Durham areas.