As other Wayzata businesses open their doors to customers, bars and restaurants are still in a holding pattern.
“As we look forward, I have directed my cabinet to continue the extensive discussions they are already having with health experts and thousands of businesses on future openings,” said Gov. Tim Walz in a recent news conference.
“I’m directing them to assemble similar guidance on how to safely re-open bars, restaurants, barbershops, and salons beginning June 1. This will coincide with a significant increase in testing, tracing, and isolating the virus in the state,” he said.
That’s two more weeks of waiting. Two more weeks of lost revenue.
“The shelter in place order was devastating to the restaurant industry and to our family restaurant, 6Smith. Our sales went immediately to zero,” said Randy Stanley of 6Smith.
“The impact has been devastating, for our staff, guests and the community at large,” said Terri Huml of Gianni’s Restaurant.
And behind each bar and restaurant is a legion of workers – many are furloughed – waiting to get back work.
The U.S. Census Bureau announced that estimates of U.S. retail and food services sales for April 2020 dropped more than 16% – which is roughly $80 billion.
“We send out a weekly email to check in on everyone and make sure our staff knows that if they need anything at all, to let us know,” said Huml. “The first four weeks, we made sure everyone had food and were able to help out with any financial assistance. The servers have a zoom call once a week too.”
“We, in particular, have been very fortunate and have been able to retain our managers at full salary, pay employee benefits and provide a daily family meal to our employees who have been furloughed,” said Stanley.
Take out business for local restaurants have kept some revenue coming in.
|American Legion Post 118, Wayzata|
Friday night, the Wayzata American Legion offered chicken dinner for pick up and delivery.
The Legion sold out of 180 dinners in about an hour.
“We immediately switched our business plan to Curbside to go, which has helped subsidize our commitments to the employees and managers,” said Stanley. “Curbside keeps us customer facing with our guests and community, problem solving and engaged. We are thankful for the to go sales we have been able to build.”
Carry out services help, but sustain these businesses long term.
“It (carry out) is not a sustainable business model,” said Stanley. “Basically about 10% of the volume we might normally do this time of year.”
“Remember, not only are we dealing with COVID but the entirety of Lake Street is closed for construction. Curbside pick up is very difficult,” said Huml.
Customers walking into restaurants for sit-down meals will be a welcome sight in the future. But it will come new protocols. The CDC recently issued new guidance. The memo focuses on staff training, sanitizing plan and social distancing efforts.
“We have defined out safety protocol for staff and reworking our business plan,” said Huml.
“We will follow the government guidelines provided for occupancy, safety and sanitation, etc.,” said Stanley. “We have plans, processes and procedures in place that will allow us to protect our employees and guests from contracting the virus.”
COVID-19 has changed nearly every aspect of our lives including out ability to enjoy our favorite restaurants. No longer will we take for granted making a reservation and planning a night out.
“This will be a new “normal’ for some period of time. I pray for all of my Wayzata restaurant family that we all reopen as robust and healthy as ever,” said Huml.
“The outpouring of community support for all of the restaurants in Wayzata has been unbelievable,” said Stanley.