Friday, August 21, 2020

THE PRAIRIE EDITOR: Hope For Restaurants?

Even as lockdowns across the nation are gradually being
relaxed, and retail places of business cautiously reopening,
many conventional assessments of the long-term prospects
for restaurants remain grim.

Estimates vary that from 25-50% of existing establishments
will go out of business. Of course, that’s just a guess, but it
is going to be problematic for many smaller restaurants to
make a profit or break even under the probable conditions
in the foreseeable future.

Even in good times, operating a restaurant is a constant
challenge, and the industry was already undergoing
significant change before the pandemic shutdowns.

Increased regulations, higher labor costs, higher food
costs. more local taxes and rising rents and insurance had
forced restaurateurs to change their service models, and
menus. Many, in spite of critical success, decided to close
their doors.

This was before the pandemic and the shutdowns.

Is there any hope for this previously vibrant and growing

I think there is.

This prospect for hope comes from the nature and spirit
from those who create and run this business. Most of
those who operate the nation’s restaurants are pragmatic
entrepreneurs with a dream, drawn to the “magical”
enterprise of serving food to the public. Some are
talented chefs themselves, others simply enjoy the
interaction of providing hospitality in their own way.
Each restaurant tries to create its own dining identity.
This vision of enterprise is not unique in U.S. commerce,
but it is especially abundant in the restaurant business.

In short, restaurant owners and management will do all
they can to adapt, recreate, alter and enhance the way
they serve the public.

The result will probably be a changed dining out
environment and experience, but it will respond to a
resumed demand by the public to be able to gather for a
meal outside their own homes, or to have a source for
the preparation of food to take home.

Many restaurants that do close will reopen under new
owners and managers. New kinds of dining venues will
also likely be created.

As I see it, then, the restaurant industry will mostly save
itself. Its future now has many uncertainties and challenges,
but as long as here are customers who want to dine out,
there will be places to serve them.

Copyright (c) 2020 by Barry Casselman. All rights rserved.

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