10% of Wisconsin restaurants went out of business during the pandemic, according to new estimate by the WRA

How you can help ensure some of your favorites survive this week

MADISON, Wis. — An estimated 10% of Wisconsin restaurants went out of business during the pandemic, according to the state’s Restaurant Association, and those that remain open continue to struggle. This week, there’s a way you can help ensure some of your favorites survive.

Madison Magazine’s 2021 Fall Restaurant Week begins Sunday. From September 19th through 24th, locals can find deals at more than a dozen restaurants in and around Madison. Participating businesses offer three course meals starting at $25 for dinner and $15 for lunch.

“I have a real fear that many restaurants are on the bubble of going out of business,” said Kristine Hillmer, president of the Wisconsin Restaurant Association. “Many need a robust summer into the fall in order to have that profit margin to cover their finances during the leaner winter months.”

Hillmer explained many restaurants haven’t been able to get that this year, due to lingering COVID restrictions, coupled with staff and supply chain shortages.

Other ways to help

  • Consider dining during off-times.

“Instead of going Friday night at 6 for that fish fry, maybe go at 4-o-clock, or during another day of the week,” Hillmer suggested. “I really fear with the delta variant and the new variant, as well as with capacity limits, more restaurants than we even know are on the bubble of closing for good.”

  • Order takeout directly from the restaurant.

Many businesses have to pay to use third-party sites to deliver their meals. Hillmer suggests calling the restaurants you order from directly to see if they have their own carryout and delivery options.

Click here for a full list of participating restaurants and their menus.