Restaurateur, Humanitarian and Chairwoman of New Jersey Restaurant Association, Marilyn Schlossbach explains the struggles the restaurant industry is facing during the global pandemic.
ALLENHURST, NJ: It’s been a difficult road for restaurateurs while navigating the effects that the global pandemic is having on their businesses. With Memorial Day Weekend a month away, many are beginning to fear what the future will hold for restaurants that rely on the summer season for much of their income. Jersey Shore restaurateur, humanitarian and Chairwoman of the New Jersey Restaurant Association, Marilyn Schlossbach provides insight on the struggles that the restaurant industry is facing due to the mandated statewide shutdown.
After experiencing the destruction that Hurricane Sandy had on shore businesses nearly seven years ago, Schlossbach believed that she had conquered her hardest battle. As the global pandemic continues to loom, the seasoned restaurateur is hoping that all of her six food and beverage establishments will reopen soon. Schlossbach is the owner and operator of Langosta Lounge, Pop’s Garage, Asbury Park Yacht Club and up-and-coming eatery Saltwater Wine, Surf Sundress and Wine Shop, all in Asbury Park, the Whitechapel Projects in Long Branch, and the Labrador Lounge in Normandy Beach, New Jersey, none of which were able to continue operating with take-out and delivery options. “We tried to do take-out at Langosta Lounge, we lasted about a week,” said Schlossbach. “Because of the location and the type of business we had historically done in the past did not involve much take-out at all, it was very hard for us to do it.” The closures also led to the layoffs of 40 off-season employees, and 200 employees gearing up for the summer season.
In the meantime, the avid humanitarian has been focusing much of her efforts towards helping other restaurateurs as well as the community in need. Her partnerships include delivering meals to the Asbury Park Senior Towers and working with the Asbury Park Dinner Table program to provide meals to the town’s churches and the Boys and Girls Club. To assist first responders and other members of the community, Schlossbach organized the online campaign, Meals & Masks through the organization, Food for Thought, to raise money for masks for those working on the frontlines. The organization has distributed 2,500 masks to Asbury Park Police and Fire, Jersey Shore Medical Center and Hackensack Meridian Hospitals, while 4,000 community grade masks are expected shortly for food delivery workers, churches, among others. “If it wasn’t for this, I don’t know if I could get out of bed in the morning,” said Schlossbach. “This keeps me hopeful and connected and like I’m doing something good for the community.”
With the uncertainty of when her businesses can open again, Schlossbach is trying to remain optimistic that her restaurants can survive the prolonged closures. “My rent is over $500,000 a year and if I don’t do the business in the summer, there’s no way I’m going to be able to fair that,” said Schlossbach. “We do two thirds of our business in the summer.” As newly appointed Chairwoman of the New Jersey Restaurant Association, she does give restaurateurs a silver lining to the current circumstances. “We can craft our future here. When we reopen, we can be whoever we want,” said Schlossbach. Take a look at your business and see what you want to do with it going forward. And if you don’t want to do it anymore, do something else.”