JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Tens of thousands of people are coming to the First Coast for one more game at the TIAA Bank Field before the start of the new year.
To Kacheryl Gantt, that means new customers visiting her restaurant, the Avenue Grill. Gantt has been running her business for nearly a decade. She's hoping the turnout will be similar to Florida-Georgia and other large events in the city.
"I can tell the increase of crowd. I'm on my feet more than I would be if it was a regular day," Gantt smirked.
Multiple bowl games have recently been canceled. Since the TaxSlayer Gator Bowl is still happening, the restaurant owner believes the event will be great for the community.
"Especially when the pandemic has hit a lot of business," she said.
She should expect to see the difference in her pay. The Gator Bowl is known to rake in millions in revenue. Restaurants, retail stores and hotels usually benefit from the boost.
Last year's economic impact was significantly different. According to Visit Jacksonville, the food and beverage industry earned more than $300,000 in business sales. COVID-19 was a factor in the decrease.
However, in 2018 and 2021, data showed how the industry brought in more than a million dollars in direct business sales. To Gantt, she's optimistic this year's bowl game will be better.
"It's not easy, it's work," Gantt said. "At the same time, you got to stay consistent. As long as you stay consistent, people will come in and support."
Rutgers and Wake Forest will face off in Jacksonville on Friday.