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Restaurants in Trouble
Old 07-31-2020, 12:42 PM   #1
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Restaurants in Trouble

Restaurants in my area are in big trouble. They can open for inside dining at 50% capacity but hardly anyone is going into restaurants and it is too hot for outdoor dining. Every day it seems another restaurant permanently closes and some are having to shut at least temporarily because a staff person has Covid. Pre Covid we use to eat out a lot. Since Covid we try to do curbside pick up once or twice a week. I am sad that so many of many favorite restaurants are closing.

One question that I have is why some restaurants refuse to do curbside pick up. Because we are high risk DH and I have decided to not go in any restaurant and just do the curbside pick up, we try to go at less busy times and leave a very nice tip and we have several restaurants that this works out great. A few restaurants have told us we have to come in and pay and pick up our order and we say no thanks and go to a different restaurant. I heard that one of my formerly favorite lunch spots was in financial trouble and may have to close so I reached out to the owner to see why they are not doing curbside pick ups and she said the credit card company charged more for payment not in person. I had never heard that before but I suggested to her she could tack on a small curbside fee so she would not lose that business.

I hope restaurants get more creative so they can stay open.
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Old 07-31-2020, 12:50 PM   #2
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Some restaurants at the coast have the business, but not the employees. Many are reducing hours due to the labor squeeze.

The reasons are varied for this: extra unemployment payments, unwillingness to relocate for a summer job, conditions conducive to acquiring the virus, etc.
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Old 07-31-2020, 12:58 PM   #3
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I don't think a lack of staff is the problem where I live--I think the problem here is a lack of customers. When I pick up my to go orders there are very few cars in the parking lot and the employees appear to just be standing around.
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Old 07-31-2020, 01:01 PM   #4
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I don't think a lack of staff is the problem where I live--I think the problem here is a lack of customers. When I pick up my to go orders there are very few cars in the parking lot and the employees appear to just be standing around.
Oh, I'm not saying lack of staff is pervasive. For sure, demand in most places is THE issue with restaurants.

I'm just saying that even if you are doing well, you may have staffing issues. This pandemic is nasty in many respects. Many customer facing retail outlets are still looking for employees. It is a bitter twist during high unemployment times.
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Old 07-31-2020, 01:05 PM   #5
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I've seen the same down where I am at--small businesses going out and shutting down. At least 5 small bars/restaurants near me.

I simply hope restaurants can get out from under government restrictions and open to those who want to dine there. This COVID stuff is serious, but it is hardly worth destroying businesses via government restrictions.

Regarding the curbside pickup, there is often extra cost and effort involved with that. If a restaurant isn't already set up for it, you have the to go plates, bags, silverware, condiment packets, napkins, point of sale terminals(or adjust their inside registers for phone orders), possible health code issues(lord knows what kind of nanny state laws are dropped on restaurants in some regions), etc.
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Old 07-31-2020, 01:07 PM   #6
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Restaurants in Las Vegas are in BIG trouble, with countless closed.

I do take out several times per week but will not eat inside.

I heard one say they wanted dine-in patrons, not take-out orders, so the booze/drink sales & staff tips would generate more income.

Since the booze margins are high it makes some sense to want people to dine-in and linger...but the idea fails when people will not eat in & just dine at home.
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Old 07-31-2020, 01:15 PM   #7
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I've seen the same down where I am at--small businesses going out and shutting down. At least 5 small bars/restaurants near me.

I simply hope restaurants can get out from under government restrictions and open to those who want to dine there. This COVID stuff is serious, but it is hardly worth destroying businesses via government restrictions.

Regarding the curbside pickup, there is often extra cost and effort involved with that. If a restaurant isn't already set up for it, you have the to go plates, bags, silverware, condiment packets, napkins, point of sale terminals(or adjust their inside registers for phone orders), possible health code issues(lord knows what kind of nanny state laws are dropped on restaurants in some regions), etc.
I don't think that the government restrictions in my area are the problem. The problem is that we have so many Covid cases people are simply afraid to go into restaurants. The few restaurants I know that appear to be doing well have not even opened for inside dining--they are doing a great job on take out with a brisk business. If restaurants do not want to adapt to take out I am afraid they will simply have to close due to lack of business.
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Old 07-31-2020, 01:21 PM   #8
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Unfortunately as long as COVID-19 rages with major outbreaks, most people will avoid restaurants, especially inside dining. It’s ultimately not going to be due to local govt. restrictions.
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Old 07-31-2020, 01:25 PM   #9
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If I were a restaurant owner (glad I am not) I would be doing every creative thing I could think of to stay afloat--curbside pick up, home delivery, outdoor dining with large fans, meal kits, selling groceries, etc.
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Old 07-31-2020, 01:29 PM   #10
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If I were a restaurant owner (glad I am not) I would be doing every creative thing I could think of to stay afloat--curbside pick up, home delivery, outdoor dining with large fans, meal kits, selling groceries, etc.
Normally I'm put off by marketing e-mails. However, we pay attention to one of our favorite local restaurants. Every now and then they send out a reminder e-mail saying simply: "We need you! Help!"

DW always responds with a pickup order.

I know curbside has extra costs, but this restaurant is getting a return on their expense. There's always a constant stream of people picking up the orders from shade tent outside (or delivered to your trunk if you like).
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Old 07-31-2020, 01:39 PM   #11
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Our local restaurant won the Florida award for enhanced safety features with Covid prevention . Other restaurants should follow their lead because they are doing well . Their deck area is usually busy and inside they do a steady business . They also have a brisk take out business . It helps that they were well established in the community before this happened .
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Old 07-31-2020, 01:40 PM   #12
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Normally I'm put off by marketing e-mails. However, we pay attention to one of our favorite local restaurants. Every now and then they send out a reminder e-mail saying simply: "We need you! Help!"

DW always responds with a pickup order.

I know curbside has extra costs, but this restaurant is getting a return on their expense. There's always a constant stream of people picking up the orders from shade tent outside (or delivered to your trunk if you like).
That's a great idea. I see some restaurants posting something similar on their website, facebook or twitter. If curbside has extra costs I would be glad to pay a reasonable "curbside fee." But I question if curbside really does increase costs. Sure there are costs for paper containers and boxes but you don't have to have nearly as many employees.

One issue with curbside that I am sure hurts restaurants is that we normally do not order any drinks with our meals. Restaurants make alot of money on beverages, especially alcohol. That is why I usually just drink water in restaurants!
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Old 07-31-2020, 01:46 PM   #13
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One issue with curbside that I am sure hurts restaurants is that we normally do not order any drinks with our meals. Restaurants make alot of money on beverages, especially alcohol. That is why I usually just drink water in restaurants!
Forgot about that. True!

This same restaurant has a wine and beer "surprise" box you can buy. We haven't, as we are not big drinkers. Anyway, you buy a six pack or a bottle of wine. What you get is a surprise. The six pack may be 6 PBRs, or it may be 6 varied bottles of the best microbrew. Same with the wine. They promise to evenly distribute the surprise boxes with the good and "affordable" stuff. The servers just grab a box to give you, they don't even know what it has.

That's kind of creative.
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Old 07-31-2020, 01:48 PM   #14
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One issue with curbside that I am sure hurts restaurants is that we normally do not order any drinks with our meals.
^ This.

At our favorite Chinese restaurant we usually spend around $28 for lunch for the two of us, including tip. Now that we only get take out and no beverage, we up the tip so that the final amount is still $28. They are very appreciative.
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Old 07-31-2020, 01:50 PM   #15
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I don't think a lack of staff is the problem where I live--I think the problem here is a lack of customers. When I pick up my to go orders there are very few cars in the parking lot and the employees appear to just be standing around.
We observe drive through a very busy. Regular restaurants not. And same experience on curbside vs takeout.
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Old 07-31-2020, 01:54 PM   #16
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If I were a restaurant owner (glad I am not) I would be doing every creative thing I could think of to stay afloat--curbside pick up, home delivery, outdoor dining with large fans, meal kits, selling groceries, etc.
Agree.

and in my experience it is the rare restaurant that is not set up to do take out at some level.

Great example in our area. A closed movie theater in a strip mall nonetheless does a pretty brisk business in fresh theater popcorn and theater candy out front of the theater to any shoppers in the area. Seems to get quite a bit of business from students in the area.
By itself it's not enough to support the theater for very long, but just doing everything you can to get by.
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Old 07-31-2020, 01:58 PM   #17
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The one "restaurant" which is extremely busy by us is Chick Fil A. Mostly drive through.
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Old 07-31-2020, 02:24 PM   #18
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The one "restaurant" which is extremely busy by us is Chick Fil A. Mostly drive through.
Yes Chick Fil A is always busy where I am and they have not even opened up for indoor dining where we live, I guess they don't need to. The only problem with no indoor dining at Chick Fil A is that you cannot use their bathroom and I always like their bathrooms--very clean.
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Old 07-31-2020, 02:35 PM   #19
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I agree that restaurants are all hurting now. I do think gov't restrictions are part of the problem, no restaurant can stay profitable at 25% capacity or even 50% for extended periods. That is not the only reason though, as there are just a lot less customers with people avoiding eating out, or severely cutting back with takeout.


Here in Ohio they modified the alcohol law allowing restaurants to sell alcohol to go. It was 2 drinks per person, now it is 3 drinks. So that has helped some restaurants a little, to provide packaged drinks to go with the takeout food orders.


The fast food and budget restaurants seem to be doing better than the formal sitdown places. Some of the higher end restaurants here have not even opened. Then you have examples of restaurants where one or more employees tested positive and they closed down for some period of time voluntarily. That has to be hard on an already tough financial situation.
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Old 07-31-2020, 02:36 PM   #20
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Our local McDonald’s is doing well. Sometimes the drive up line is backed up out into the street. So McDonald’s bought the house next door and demolished it. Now they’re rebuilding the drive up into the adjacent lot so that they’ll have multiple drive up lanes and more car storage in the lanes. Not sure if they’re adding parking and more inside dining space. They just need to increase their drive up capacity.
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