Recognition…Lyndon French for the New York Times
For larger dine-in chains, the ever-changing patchwork of rules for eating presents a particular logistical challenge: How do you come up with a company-wide approach when different locations deal with their own specific regulations?
New restrictions have been introduced on indoor and outdoor dining, although far from uniform (no indoor eating in Philadelphia, Chicago and New York, indoor curfews in New Jersey and Massachusetts, no restaurant at all in much of California) .
Restaurants will need to work with local health departments who will set specific guidelines for measures to prevent the virus from spreading. Some require dining tents or outdoor structures that have no more than two walls to provide adequate ventilation. Others want three sides of the tents to remain open.
Casual and upscale eateries left with empty dining rooms were moving fast for first-time touches or for take-away options. They started by roadside pickup and signed up with food suppliers like DoorDash and Grubhub. Some states relaxed alcohol laws and allowed chains to offer take-away alcoholic beverages. And when restaurants were allowed to serve restaurants with restrictions again, many rented tents or opened terraces to create outdoor seating.
But chains saw uneven performance in their restaurants.
By the end of summer, the restaurants in Olive Garden had average sales of $ 70,000 per week. However, sales at the chain’s superstar restaurant in Times Square in New York, which was only available for summer takeout, fell to $ 17,500 per week, compared to around $ 288,000 per week Darden Restaurants executives, The Olive Garden, LongHorn Steakhouse and The Capital Grille are owned by Wall Street analysts in September.