Restaurant Owners Concerned About Reopening With New Regulations

NBC Universal, Inc.

When California restaurants reopen to serve more than to-go orders, social distancing will likely be on the menu, but some restaurants are already voicing concerns that they won’t be able to survive with additional restrictions. 

Jack Holders in San Jose is already 70% down and with the new restrictions, it would only be able to fill every other booth or table, meaning instead of serving 130 customers, they could only serve 65.

“When you go to half occupancy you can’t make a profit which is based on volume, that's what dictates our profitability,” said owner Dan Holder.

The owner fears maintaining a six feet separation will eat their profits.

“There was already a trend in the Bay Area where we saw a lot of restaurant closures,” said Jot Condie, president of the California Restaurant Association.

With fewer customers, some restaurant owners fear they’ll have to cut staff, especially with wage increases expected to go into effect in July in many cities .

They also question how they’ll be able to keep employees six feet apart in kitchens.

The California Restaurant Association, which has more than 22,000 members, has another concern: customer reactions.

“If customers don’t show up that’s a tough obstacle to overcome,” said Condie.

She says restaurants will have to get creative, changing menus and dining configurations in order to survive but for some it may not be enough.

“I think unfortunately we will see a high closure rate even after restaurants open up,” said Condie.

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