MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WPDE) - This month alone, about a dozen Grand Strand restaurants have closed their doors for good. Experts say high turnover is normal in the food and beverage industry, but a new trend is emerging.
Becky Billingsley runs a website that tracks the Myrtle Beach area restaurant industry. She says while new restaurants used to open just before the beginning of the summer season, she's seeing a "surprising" number of new restaurants open after the summer as well.
In a strip mall across from Coastal Grand Mall, the owners of Planet Wings are putting the final touches on their business. They're slated to start serving customers October 1 and hope opening at the end of the season will work to their advantage.
"Opening now is a good time to get our feet wet, get in the door, get people to know about us, and by the time summer comes, we'll be a known name," says manager Alyssa Kingsbury.
While there won't be thousands of tourists in town each weekend, Kingsbury is confident they'll survive the winter months. "It is a franchise, and it's known to work. They wouldn't have let us open here knowing that it is a tourist town if they didn't feel confident we would be successful, and we also feel confident that we're going to provide the best quality food, service, drinks and make everybody happy and want to come back," she explains.
Along Ocean Boulevard, Bandito's has been serving customers since August.
"Business has been outstanding. We've done really well. The summer came to an end and we thought business would taper off a bit, and it's been holding steady ever since, so it's been doing really well," says General Manager Sean Christenson.
Christenson has many years of experience in the restaurant industry and is hopeful they'll continue to be successful. "We have the oceanfront, so we have a very different venue than what a lot of other restaurants have being on the oceanfront and having the opportunity to open here. And being this close to the boardwalk and having the boardwalk come in our direction, so definitely a great draw for us," he explains.