The predictions about a high number of restaurants closing permanently have been circulating for months and, unfortunately, now there are stats to back that up. We’ve already seen some local venues closing permanently, and some closing temporarily for a second time.
The review site Yelp released a second-quarter report last week that said 60 percent of the restaurants that temporarily closed due to the pandemic have since shuttered for good. That’s an enormous number.
There were 26,160 total restaurant closures on Yelp between March 1 and July 10, and 15,770 of those have made the decision permanent, according to Yelp.
Meanwhile, some poorly run restaurants that opened back up are allowing crowds with no masks, and not following guidelines meant to protect us all. Plus, the laws for restaurants continue to change from state to state, sometimes weekly. Serve alcohol here, with food. Don’t serve alcohol there. It’s confusing to both venue owners and diners.
Restaurants have tried to stay flexible and offer whatever they can to customers: take-out meal kits, cooking classes, virtual tastings, cocktails to go and more.
What does this mean?
That the profession hardest hit—the U.S. Census Bureau says restaurants have lost more jobs and money than any industry—is facing problems from within and without. Even restaurants that do follow safety guidelines aren’t guaranteed to survive through the pandemic time. There is no surefire formula.
Sounds a bit like the rest of life right now.
What can we do to help?
Takeout meals remain the No. 1 way to help restaurants survive. The revenue margins for takeout are a lot higher than those for dine-in customers, and there are far fewer safety risks.
Tips on making takeout last:
- Find the deal days. Most restaurants have deep-discount meals to-go on Sundays, Mondays or Tuesdays. Check your favorite places to find these specials.
- Most takeout meals are large, certainly enough for two, sometimes enough for four—or for two dinners in a row. I recently ordered a seafood paella takeout meal that ended up being enough for four dinners, for instance.
- Split some of the takeout deals with your friends or neighbors. The meals can be divided easily with utensils (think long-handed tongs), and two families can benefit. One family can place the order, the other pick up—kind of food carpooling.
If you can order takeout even just one night per week, that will mean a great deal to your local restaurants. Check the popular Socially Distanced Supper Club on Facebook for your local meal deals, too. We all need to work together on this.