Can N.J.’s Struggling Restaurants Weather the Winter
With minimal indoor dining? As the hot summer is poised to turn into a crisp fall, restaurant owners in New Jersey are beginning to strategize how they will make it through colder months, with less outdoor dining and strict indoor capacity restrictions. Industry leaders predict smaller restaurants will be challenged most and must adapt. Smaller restaurants will likely be hardest hit this winter due to the 25% capacity limit for indoor dining that began Friday, said Marilou Halvorsen, president of the NJ Restaurant & Hospitality Association. Owners will need to determine if the money they would make being open for the handful of customers they could seat inside would cover the cost of paying staff— and for some, it may not be.
Murphy’s Restaurant Rules Are Too Little
Too late. Governor Phil Murphy’s decision to open restaurants this week at 25 percent capacity isn’t enough to help the restaurants and catering halls that didn’t close for good during the pandemic says Assemblywoman BettyLou DeCroce. She called for more help and relief from the Economic Development Authority. “The prolonged shutdown of restaurants has driven many out of business and severely hurt others that are barely surviving,” said DeCroce (R-Morris). “The governor’s restriction on indoor dining will not allow restaurant owners to make a profit or recover lost revenue from having their doors locked to customers.”
The Challenges Ahead
For New Jersey Dining. Rising costs for everything from food to labor, plus Covid-19 uncertainty, cloud the restaurant forecast. The demand for outdoor dining has been astounding,” Tim McLoone says. “The dilemma is what happens in the fall when it’s untenable to sit outside. A lot of people won’t make it.” Weddings and parties once comprised nearly three-quarters of Tom Ingegneri’s business at the antique-laden Cranbury Inn. But weddings have all but disappeared in the pandemic. The Inn, one of the state’s oldest restaurants, closed in March for several months, with Ingegneri eventually reopening and so far, holding on.
Lady Gaga’s Father Joins More Than 450 NYC Restaurant Owners
Suing Gov. Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio for $2 billion. Lady Gaga’s father has joined more than 450 New York City restaurant owners suing Governor Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio for $2 billion in damages over a continued ban on indoor dining amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The outdoor dining scheme ends on October 31 and so far, there are no solid plans to allow people back inside restaurants. Indoor dining is allowed in New York state with the exception of New York City, where, as of Thursday, 456 restaurateurs had filed the class-action lawsuit against the state and city, according to reports.
Nearly Two-Thirds of New York Restaurants
May have to close by January. Restaurants across the Empire State have been struggling to stay in business since the coronavirus pandemic forced them to shut down in March. On Thursday, the New York State Restaurant Association released the findings from its latest survey of more than 1,000 restaurateurs across the state. Nearly 64% of restaurant owners said they are likely or somewhat likely to close by the end of this year unless they receive financial relief. And about 55% of those who are likely to close said they expect to shut down before November. Only about 36% said they expect to still be in business by January.
Restaurant Employment Recovery
Is in danger of stalling. The restaurant industry suffered far more job losses than any other sector during the coronavirus pandemic, as government-mandated lockdowns led to millions of restaurant and foodservice employees being laid off or furloughed in March and April. What followed was an unprecedented hiring surge, with nearly 3 million restaurant employees returning to payrolls in May and June. However, that still left staffing levels more than 3 million jobs below its February peak. Although restaurant employment continued to trend higher in July and August, the gains were only enough to put a modest dent in the staffing shortfall. Eating and drinking places* added a net 133,600 jobs in August on a seasonally adjusted basis, which followed a net increase of 525,300 jobs in July. As a result of the recent slowdown, eating and drinking place employment remains nearly 2.5 million jobs below its pre-coronavirus peak.
Is the Government Just Going to Watch the Restaurant Industry Die?
Without a bailout, independent restaurants face a disastrous fallout. A few months ago, as restaurants suffered through the first months of a devastating pandemic, chefs and restaurant owners across the country went on social media to call for a government bailout. In their pleas, they said that without government support, their restaurants would close for good. Neighborhoods would be reshaped; beloved watering holes would dry up and disappear. It was a bleak image of the future, with an urgent call to action — one that was more or less ignored by the federal government. If restaurants don’t see monetary relief soon, and restaurant workers aren’t provided with the financial support they need to safely make it through the pandemic, the suffering will needlessly continue, and there will be no normal to return to.
People Are Dining Out
They just don’t want anyone to know about it. The shame of going out to eat during the pandemic is enough to scare people off posting their meals on Instagram, but not enough to keep them out of restaurants. That fear of being perceived as being a hypocrite has been enough to stop people from being transparent on social media about their actions, though it’s not enough to keep them from going out altogether. So why choose to dine out if it’s so shameful? Some diners are seeking a sense of “normalcy,” whether that means a date night or letting someone else cook for their increasingly antsy kids for once. Others feel like it’s a risk they have to take in order to support restaurant owners and employees.
Did You Know?
These restaurant chains are unveiling new designs inspired by the pandemic. The coronavirus pandemic is spurring on a growing number of restaurant chains to build restaurants with new bells and whistles focused on convenience and safety. Some restaurant companies are accelerating plans to update their store formats with a focus on convenience. Starbucks, for example, is going to build more mobile pickup cafes this year and in 2021 than it previously thought. Others are taking a more drastic step and introducing entirely new designs based on how customers ordered and picked up their food during the pandemic.
McConnell unveils slimmed-down coronavirus relief bill. The House and Senate adjourned last month with no agreement. But the Senate came back into session Tuesday afternoon and the House returns next week, giving lawmakers one last chance to make a deal before adjourning through the election. Senate Republicans and administration officials believe Pelosi will come under growing pressure from moderate members of her own caucus who face tough reelections and have been uneasy about the failure to act on additional economic stimulus. McConnell’s new legislation is partly an attempt to attract the attention of such lawmakers. “I’m optimistic in the next two weeks that the pressure and the voice of the American people will start to have an impact on members of Congress.
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