Me and some kids from school started a restaurant and we tried real hard. COVID hit it. Joey got married. I’m not only changing the lyrics to a popular 80’s song to convey a message, I’m relating it to the restaurant world. This summer is going to be one for the books for the restaurant industry. Restaurants will reopen at 50% capacity. Just in time for Summer, the season where the majority of consumers want to get outside and soak up the social craze. However, there’s also more options in the summer with weather being more enjoyable. Take advantage of summer weather. COVID-19 certainly flipped the script. Don’t be afraid to rewrite it.
Restaurants will reopen at 50% capacity. As bars and restaurants reopen, entice your customers to come back. We’ve been cooped up for too long. The consumer right will inevitably kick in. When it does, be ready. There are more questions to answer. Ultimately, it’s going to require diligence. The only way to survive will be to reopen.
NC and FL Restaurants Reopen to 50% Capacity
North Carolina will start phase-2 of reopening their restaurants to offer dine-in service at 50% capacity this week with Florida quick to follow. Firing up their grills and cleaning with precision. Restaurant owners are excited to see happy faces and employees are excited to get back to work.
We’re elated, ecstatic. – Peter Lopez, Owner of Shooters, Fort Lauderdale FL.
With this good news, there comes strict guidelines to follow. Nobody wants to volunteer to take temperatures. Sanitizing more frequently is a pain. Nevertheless, that’s a small price to pay to provide to your community again.
It’s really about discipline and making sure you’re communicating to your team and understanding what needs to be done by everybody. – Lopez
Social Distancing and Six Feet Apart
At first, dining-out may seem like a game of checkers. Tables 6-feet part apart and capacity cut in half. Don’t let that stipulation take away from a positive dining experience. Stop thinking, “it will never be the same again.” This is a country of innovation and things change. Being in the middle, it’s easier to say that normalcy will not be reached, but it will. Remain resilient. It’s hard to know. However, time will sort it all out. Reality will trump hardships.
Restaurant Design and 50% Capacity
What does the 50% capacity mean for the restaurant industry? Profit margins are low. The original design of restaurants is peculiar. Operations at 50% make those profit margins slimmer. As a restaurant owner, you are going to have to get really creative. Your establishment will not be instantly profitable. You will need to work hard to stay operating and provide quality service to your customers.
Social Distancing and Outdoor Seating
Though, difficult to monitor and enforce, outdoor seating may be what saves restaurants. Tampa piloted this concept and various restaurants are doing the same. Colorado Gov. Jared Polis released guidance on how restaurants can begin to open back up to offer plans to include: sidewalk, patio, and parking-lot dining. Will this be successful? The answer to this isn’t clear. Nevertheless, what we do know is that nice weather brings customers outdoors.
Lou’s Bakery and NH Restaurants
Restaurants across NH are also feeling the outdoor vibe. Lou’s restaurant in Hanover, NH has now been offering their tasty and one-of-a-kind homemade goodies on the streets. For owner, Jarett Burke, it was a matter of keeping his service to the community strong. Owner of Tuscan Kitchen, Joe Faro agrees that these times are tough for all business’s.
You know, you play the cards that you’re dealt, so we’re going to play those cards. – Joe Faro, Owner, Tuscan Kitchen
50% Capacity and Profit
Moreover, profit may not be a reasonable expectation upon reopening. At the very least, you are surviving. Even with outdoor seating, restaurants may still see the benefit to remaining inoperable. The decision to remain open or close for good is difficult. What you can hang your hat on is the will-power of restaurants in providing food. In terms of how and where is becoming more clear each day. The silver lining is shining.
Be kind to your customers. Be intentional. Likely, your profit margins are weak, but the best way to beat the odds is to increase the odds by playing. Let the weather continue to get better. Let people start to educate themselves on what’s taking place. You can’t focus on what you cannot control. Focus on what you can control and move on. Don’t stall your progress and growth. Eventually, people will realize socializing and supporting the restaurant community is not only good but tasty.
Like a game of golf, you can’t control the wind or the cut of the green. We’re all playing the same game. Each state and city has differing guidelines. If you’re unsure of what the guidelines are, be sure to check-in with your state officials. In this situation, you have to be mentally strong and keep your head straight and check-in with your employees and with yourself – especially as it pertains to business ownership.
Hopefully we’ll see each other in a beer garden in the near future. Cheers.