Rumors circulating claim President Trump is expected to announce a mandatory one week quarantine of all citizens and non-essential government offices this afternoon. Depending on what transpires, one thing is for sure. Businesses are holding the wheel tightly right now.
Area restauranteurs have been in constant contact with one another trying to see what each other is planning. A common idea is to offer delivery only, in many cases with an altered menu. Anything to keep people working.
Yet, even the restaurant owners don’t know if they will be able to have food delivered to them. It’s a tight squeeze, keeping staff members, while cutting where able.
“I’m worried about loss of business for sure. We already lost about $3,000 worth of catering orders in the next couple of weeks.”
Plans on top of plans on top of plans. Changes every half hour. One thing is for sure, Augusta’s dining landscape will not be the same when the virus quarantine is over. Small restaurants without the large following or capital reserves will struggle to reopen.
“I think we’re going to wait on Trump this afternoon.”
The crystal ball is cloudy with uncertainty. The industry understands the market they serve, especially the trends and traditions of the dining public. Restaurants have to know what is going to happen more so than most other businesses. They operate a just in time delivery system that has a lot of moving parts. There are many things that happen before that plate hits your table.
Now, if you had asked your favorite restaurant owner about their upcoming July before the COVID-19 pandemic, chances are they would know their gross figures from the previous year off the top of their head, what the local and regional trends are for that time of year, and what they will do to manage the eventual slowdown of summer.
Ask one today? Most likely you will receive a long, silent pause as they try and put into words how little they know. Adding to their stress is the fact they have staff whom they support with jobs. Good staff. Great staff. Employees. Friends.
What if a mandatory closing order does come down? They risk losing their best employees, who could use the break to better their position by any means necessary. Survival on their part, really. So when the restaurant reopens, who shows up to work?
The F&B industry is a very important one here in Augusta and throughout the country. Our local market seems to have far more restaurants and full parking lots than cities of similar size. Some areas in the suburbs have twenty five or more restaurants within eyesight.
Food for thought. Not that any businesses have shut down. In fact, most are still calculating their Masters losses. Now the second largest business challenge most have ever faced is up.