For now, most restaurants are still only open for takeout and delivery, but that could change at the end of May when some states will allow restaurants to reopen for al fresco dining at a limited capacity. That’s great news for an industry that has been decimated by the coronavirus pandemic, resulting in the loss of not just businesses but thousands of jobs at well. The new rules won’t save everyone though: According to OpenTable and Kayak, only 1 in 4 restaurants will reopen.
Hafner broke the bad news to Bloomberg, adding that restaurants will face many challenges if they want to reopen, including all the expenses that pile up, and many simply won’t be able to shoulder the burden. A quarter of the restaurants around the country permanently shuttering is a chilling thought. Such massive closures will affect the livelihoods of small business owners and those they employ but will also shift the structure of entire neighborhoods, perhaps even putting an end to an urban lifestyle which centered around eating and going out.
“Restaurants are complicated beasts,” he said. “You have to order food and supplies. You have to make sure you’ve prepped the kitchen and service areas to be easily disinfected.”
Not only will restaurants have to rehire staff, but there will also be the added pressure to make sure that the restaurant is properly sanitized, which means purchasing more supplies and extending staff hours to keep the restaurant clean. The pressure is so great that even mogul David Chang buckled, recently announcing that he planned to permanently close two of his restaurants.
OpenTable’s state of the industry report surveyed around 20,000 restaurants to understand how they’re are facing the challenges posed by the countrywide lockdown. The report found that reservations were down 95 percent on May 13, compared to the previous year (predictable, given that restaurants weren’t open yet). According to the report, OpenTable has also offered resources to its restaurant partners to help them navigate reopening, and the unprecedented regulations that will likely come along with it.