The full impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the restaurant industry is yet to be assessed. But undoubtedly, restaurants have been hit hard by the new reality. Due to social distancing restrictions, many businesses temporarily closed down or shifted to takeout. The shutdown measures in New York alone are expected to cost the foodservice industry $3.6 billion in sales in April.
Our SeaTeam believes that in these uncertain times, it is essential to have restaurants’ voices heard. In the next few weeks, we will be sharing with you what restaurants have to say about running their businesses under quarantine measures in place.
SeaStraws’ client Mighty Quinn’s is one of the many NYC restaurant chains that are currently operating solely through delivery and takeout. Mighty Quinn’s is a barbeque chain serving customers in New York and New Jersey. With multiple locations across New York City staying open, Mighty Quinn’s continues offering its customers an excellent BBQ experience.
Micha Magid, the company’s founder and CEO, shared that the takeout mode of operation was a usual practice for the chain. Thinking ahead helped them to avoid big changes in their operations, and their delivery-friendly setup allowed Mighty Quinn’s to smoothly transition into serving hungry eaters through contactless delivery.
Despite Mighty Quinn’s success in confronting the pandemic, the future of the restaurant industry after the end of quarantine looks uncertain. It seems that the dining room experience that restaurant-goers are missing right now might not be a possibility in the near future. “For the rest of 2020, I think contactless delivery and digital ordering will be the biggest driver of the rebound,” believes Micha. Delivery will continue to be the only chance for many restaurants to avoid layoffs and stay afloat.
The NYC government is also playing a significant role in helping the foodservice industry to keep their businesses running. One of the recently proposed bans by the New York City Council involves capping food-delivery-fees at 10% per order. This legislation will help to restrict big food delivery apps from making a profit on the NYC restaurants during the state of emergency.
City residents have been actively making efforts to aid NYC restaurants. Without ongoing support coming from New Yorkers, many of the restaurants that are still open would not be able to continue their operations. Micha expressed: “Really in times like this every order counts. So when people decide to place a takeout or delivery order, that flows through the organization to our staff’s paychecks, and further through our ability to feed more healthcare workers.” The new reality has shown that by helping a local business, you are contributing to helping many others in the community.
In turn, restaurants are playing their part in assisting their city and fellow New Yorkers. For example, Mighty Quinn’s are currently offering free meals to medical workers as a gesture of gratitude. “For now, it’s about providing a sliver of normalcy to our guests and making sure we can assist the front line of defense (hospital workers) in the best way we can,” says Micha. If you are a medical worker and you are seeing this - all you need to do to get a free meal at Mighty Quinn’s is to show your hospital ID at their counter. This is an extraordinary show of support for the local NYC community and our heroes on the frontlines.
Even as shutdown measures begin to come to an end in different parts of our nation, the foodservice industry will continue facing new challenges after we have recovered from COVID-19. The priority for all of us in the foodservice industry should be to help our local restaurants keep their staff employed and businesses operating.
Support restaurants and their hard-working teams by donating to the Restaurant Workers Community Foundation’s COVID-19 Relief Fund, or look up whether your favorite local restaurant has a GoFundMe and make a contribution there. For the places that are still open though, we encourage you to take a break from cooking and place an order for take-out. As Micha said above, “every order counts.”
Written by Kathrine Serebrianski