COLUMBUS (WCMH) — According to the Ohio Restaurant Association, nearly 82% of our restaurants in Ohio have reopened. It has been about a month since they have been able to open their doors with some major changes. Most of the successful restaurants right now are attributing a lot of that success to their patios and the weather.
With anything new, there are often hurdles that come along. Overall, restaurants have jumped in head first and are trying to makeup for lost time.
“Things have been going better than expected,” said Taste Hospitality Group owner, Sheila Trautner.
Trautner has a few restaurants in town and explained there are two options: fail or succeed.
She has been using this experience as a way to improve her establishments and move
“Understanding it may take some time, but we’re looking toward the future.”
She talked about how they have been utilizing their website for to go orders and selling wine at their retail location, Wine on High.
Even while staying optimistic, restaurants are operating between 40-70% of their normal capacity which is not ideal.
“You can’t sustain a business on half the sale you were doing last year,” said Phillip Skunza, Manager at the Happy Greek.
Here, staff have been thankful for their take-out business during the entire pandemic, and still have a lot business to make up. Happy Greek management hopes to continue to push take-out orders and utilizing all the tables they can while abiding by the social distancing guidelines.
John Barker, President of the Ohio Restaurant Association explained with no end in sight to social distancing measures, staying postive can be daunting. It’s going to be tough but its something the restaurants will have to work through, together.
“I think it’s going to take awhile, I really do, We’ve never seen anything like this. Restaurants are hunkering down.”
To keep the restaurant scene alive, it is going to take the support from the community to do just that.
“These are your neighbors, these are your friends running these restaurants so give them a little grace. Not everything’s going to be perfect. If we could all be a little nicer to each other think about how much better our world would be and that makes sense in the restaurant business.”
Now with the PPP fixed at the federal level, there may be some relief in sight for restaurants. Baker says they are working on the next bill to help get everyone back on their feet.
“Now what we’re working on is another bill. When you think about it these restaurants have lost revenue for two to three months, how are they going to recover from that? This would be the restaurants’ industry blue print for recovery.”