Restaurateurs Say 25 Percent Capacity Isn’t Worth Risk

By | April 28, 2020

article at DM Restaurant Apr2020 – Dallas food industry insiders on what that means for them. Most restaurateurs are hesitant to risk opening their dining rooms.

As much of the local news media has been anticipating, Gov. Greg Abbott today announced reduced restrictions on certain businesses, including restaurants. Beginning May 1, restaurants across the state of Texas can reopen at 25 percent capacity occupancy. Restaurants are not required to open, but those who choose to must adhere to the following health protocols from the Texas Department of State Health Services.

The guidelines are very similar to the Texas Restaurant Association Promise, points out David Denney, president of the Greater Dallas Restaurant Association. “And no restaurant—and I have talked to a lot of them—nobody wants to put employees or guests at risk,” he says. “And people don’t have to. It’s not mandatory. It’s completely voluntary.”

Denney acknowledges that “there are a lot of people still nervous and a lot of people still eager to [reopen].” For some, this is carefully measured step in the right direction. For others, the news does not come as welcome or anything near a panacea.

In response to the Georgia’s swift reopening last week, restaurateur Brooks Anderson spoke to the realities of reopening even at 50 percent. (Anderson is co-owner with his brother Bradley, of Rapscallion, Boulevardier, Hillside Tavern, and the wine room Veritas. The latter is the only business that remains open; all others are closed temporarily.) Even with 100 percent occupancy “most ‘successful’ restaurants are running 5, 10, 15 percent profit at any time,” he says.

Restaurant industry margins are notoriously slim.

Read full article at DM Restaurant Apr2020