Albany restaurants profit from weary shoppers - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Albany restaurants profit from weary shoppers

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December 22, 2005

Albany- Shopping center parking lots have been packed lately. That's good for retailers and it's usually good for restaurants who pick up extra business from weary shoppers who may be too tired to cook at home. Some Albany restaurants report mixed reviews this holiday season.

Weary shoppers leaving the mall after a long day of shopping are looking for an Oasis to refill their tanks. They find that at many restaurants.

"At Christmas time with it rushed, you're going to have a meal anyway, with turkey and ham, it's just nice to have something different," said Kimberly Sturgill of Albany.

Restaurants like Sunset Grill inside the Albany Mall say business has increased this holiday season.

"It has been very good for us, I think we've exceeded our sales from last year by 10 percent, so far. This Christmas has been very busy out here," said Robert Ho, Sunset Grill Manager.

For the last three weeks the restaurant has been filled with shoppers waiting for a table. Lines are often an hour long during the dinner hour.

"It's been a wait every single day, lunch and dinner, it's nuts out here," said Ho.

While other Albany restaurants outside the mall say business hasn't been as good.

"Compared to last year, we're a little bit down in sales than we normally are," said Willie Layfield, Johnny Carino's Manager.

Outback restaurant managers also said they haven't seen sales pick up until just last week. Restaurants managers say, recent job losses may be to blame for their lack of sales.

"The job loss at Merck and Bobs Candies there a lot of companies going through their situation. I feel that's on this side of town, a lot of people live here, and that's one of the reasons we're down in sales," said Layfield.

Customers eating out say it's easier and more fun and they'll continue to eat out this holiday.

"It's a good time to just sit down and talk and get everything done," said Trevor Perry of Albany.

Gift Card sales are also helping restaurants boost their holiday numbers. Johnny Carino's set up a booth at the Albany Mall and has doubled their sales.

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