‘We’ve been here 30 years’: Restaurants continue to struggle post-pandemic

CHARLOTTE — Some restaurants are still trying to recover from the challenges of the pandemic.

We caught up with the owners of Akropolis Café who told us business hasn’t been the same since COVID.

“Like prior to COVID, this place always had a line,” said Farshad Irani, owner of the Akropolis Café. “Whenever you used to come in, no matter what time. We’ve been here 30 years.”

According to the National Restaurant Association, more than 90,000 restaurants closed during the pandemic.

Farshad said he was forced to make small price increases twice in the last year, but takeout customers played a major role in why his business stayed afloat.

“We are very lucky that we always had a good takeout business. Right now, 80% of the business is takeout,” said Irani.

People may be eating and drinking more when they go out, but they’re not going out as often.

For eight consecutive months, the number of people going to restaurants was lower than last year, according to the National Restaurant Association.

“I think some of their habits maybe changed over the pandemic that had a permanent effect,” said Chris Calagis, an Akropolis Café customer. “Like if they eat out a lot and they transitioned to cooking themselves, or they found a new love or a new hobby.”

Irani said there used to be 22 employees working at the restaurant and now they are down to three.

(WATCH BELOW: Rising rent forces another longtime favorite to close its doors in Plaza Midwood)

Evan Donovan

Evan Donovan, wsoctv.com

Evan is an anchor and reporter for Channel 9.