Brunch Bill impact on restaurants
At Killingtons Restaurant and Pub in Huntersville, they’ve adjusted their hours since the “brunch bill” that allows Sunday morning alcohol sales passed.
At Block Bistro, they’re seeing an additional, earlier brunch rush at 10 a.m. Sundays.
And a third Huntersville restaurant, Red Rocks Cafe, is already making changes for future Mother’s Day and Father’s Day brunches.
Huntersville was among the first cities in North Carolina to allow Sunday morning alcohol sales after the North Carolina legislature passed the “brunch bill” last month.
Charlotte City Council on Monday unanimously approved the expansion of alcohol sales, with the change going into effect this Sunday.
“Brunch freedom,” said council member Kenny Smith.
Mecklenburg County has already approved earlier alcohol sales in the unincorporated parts of the county.
The brunch bill allows cities and counties to pass local ordinances allowing Sunday alcohol sales at 10 a.m. rather than noon. Retail stores and grocery stores are also allowed to sell alcohol Sunday morning.
Charlotte, Huntersville, Cornelius and unincorporated Mecklenburg County are the only areas that have passed local ordinances so far.
Brian Bruce, executive chef at Killingtons Restaurant and Pub, said they adjusted their hours to open earlier once the bill passed. They have put up posters and other advertisements to bring in more customers on Sunday morning. Bruce said that last Sunday they had $500 worth of alcohol sales before noon.
“Overall, it seems like a long time coming,” Bruce said.
Red Rocks Cafe in Birkdale Village sold $200 worth of alcohol one Sunday morning after the brunch bill passed, said owner Ron Herbert.
“It was the time to change,” Herbert said. He said it was a good move on behalf of legislators.
Herbert said they also no longer have to deny alcohol to customers who order a drink on Sunday morning, which he said had led to irritation from customers in the past.
Cafe 100 in Huntersville usually had a rush at noon on Sunday, but Assistant Manager Lissa Hawksley said since the bill passed, the restaurant sees another rush at 10 a.m.
“12 o’clock happened at 10 o’clock,” Hawksley said.
She said Cafe 100 is selling more alcohol than before, making the cost per person rise and increasing revenue for the business.
Charlie Dyer, the marketing director of Block Bistro, said earlier hours have allowed business to be more spread out, rather than one rush around 11:30 a.m. When customers come in at 10 a.m., business is steady throughout the rest of brunch. He said customers knew the legislation changed and were anticipating not having to wait until noon for a mimosa or Bloody Mary.
“People were ready for it,” Dyer said.
Jamie Gwaltney: 704-358-5612, @jamielgwaltney