I love food, and I love to cook. I also enjoy going to restaurants to try new dishes and to take pictures of the plates. My food is good, but it’s not attractive, so restaurants are an excellent place to take pretty pictures of the preparations. Bars and restaurants in Miami have been closed since March because of the outbreak of COVID-19 – the ones open are those places that can provide delivery or takeout.
The food service industry has been one of the most affected by the current situation, and it makes one wonder if restaurants are going to survive the virus? Restaurants are traditionally a low-margin business with a ton of cash going to purveyors, cooks, servers, etc. The only way to stay solvent is to be continually selling food. Closing a restaurant is almost like a death sentence – even when open for delivery.
In this pandemic situation, the government has not given restaurants a safety net or any type of direction, and now they are in the precarious position of not been able to pay their staff. Restaurant staff have never been seen as essential workers in this country, and those who are still employed are maybe serving food in an unsafe situation with no guidance for safety measures.
It looks like the establishments that get to survive are the ones who have the most cash. Restaurants are essential to the economy, and when they do not do well, it creates an awful chain reaction – the farmers, the suppliers, the growers, the shippers, the florists all suffer. There is a chance that the restaurants you know and love may not re-open. The supply chain has to be supported.
People are going to realize how vital restaurants are and how the workers have been neglected for so long – the way they are paid, lack of benefits, extra-long hours. Sanitation standards also have to change – will chefs be able to taste the food with masks? Restaurants may have to remake themselves in a different mold. Maybe ghost kitchens will be the new thing – restaurants with no physical stores, operating in a commercial kitchen, delivery service being the central driving force in that business model. Storefronts may be a thing of the past as if restaurants stay open, people are going to have to pay more for food – with social distancing they will be fewer tables, fewer servers, a smaller menu.
Chain restaurants, on the other hand (MacDonalds, Wendy’s Burger King, etc.), have the money to survive, grow, and even thrive – food that is bad for us and the environment will be able to employ more people and support the purveyors. I have faith that restaurants will be able to adapt to the market changes after this crisis and emerge triumphantly.