With the breakout of the coronavirus, local restaurants are now taking extremely careful precautions to ensure the public’s health and safety. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is providing guidelines for restaurants to follow and leading restaurants to make decisions that they never imagined they would have to make.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis announced that all restaurants are to only use delivery and take-out to fight against the spread of the coronavirus. Although restaurants are faithfully protecting their customers and employees by following the enforced rules, this situation has drastically changed the restaurant industry.
“We have eliminated the dine-in area, and we only allow 50 people max inside the restaurant, then we lock the doors,” Chipotle Employee Manager Destiny Dresson said. “This means we have fewer employees to have more customers.”
As a mandatory safety measure, restaurants have removed dining room services to effectuate the order of social distancing. Public health officials say the limitation of groups of people or large gatherings can ease the spread of this contagious disease.
“Team members are being encouraged to wash their hands even more regularly than they already were as well as wearing gloves for extra protection,” Chick-Fil-A Palm Beach Lakes Executive Director Jonathon Garon said.
Bolay Marketing Director Hannah Lopez said that along with the effective hand washing and extra sanitation, employees are not allowed to work if they have traveled within the last 14 days.
These changes have caused only a small decline in sales for some restaurants that continue to stay busy during the limitations, Chick-Fil-A being one of them. According to Garon, there has been a slight dip in sales because of the closing of the dining room, but overall, he says business has stayed relatively strong.
On the contrary, other local dine-in restaurants have seen sales decrease harshly. Chipotle and Bolay are both experiencing similar outcomes.
“Our in-store sales have decreased, but the online sales have increased,” Dresson said. “We are doing free delivery and promoting our online platform more.”
Bolay restaurant, relying mainly on dine-ins, has experienced the most change, which has led to temporarily closing three establishments.
“We’ve had to change the model of our business overnight,” Lopez said.
Like other restaurants, Bolay had to implement curbside and free delivery. The restaurant chain is learning how to manage the new aspects of its service, which Lopez stated that guests are grateful for.
Both customers and restaurant employees throughout Florida are having to adjust to the modifications and accept the different dining approach. It’s how restaurants are going to manage the fight against COVID-19.
“Overall customers seem to be pleased with the changes because they feel like we are taking measures to keep them safe, obviously there are some that don’t fully agree,” Garon said. “But for the most part, guests appreciate the changes we have made.”
By Daniella Parra