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Larry Greenly

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Restaurants go poof

by Larry Greenly » Wed Jul 01, 2020 6:34 pm

We've had a number of restaurants here go belly up due to covid, even some that have been around forever. How about you?

FWIW, our governor just made it mandatory today for all stores to require masks or people can get fined $100.
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John Treder

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Re: Restaurants go poof

by John Treder » Wed Jul 01, 2020 7:56 pm

A number of restaurants here have gone under, including my favorite French-style bistro that was in walking distance. Most all restaurants were closed when California shut down on March 15, and many haven't reopened yet. Those that have are doing all the outdoor dining and social distancing.
John in the wine county
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Jeff Grossman

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Re: Restaurants go poof

by Jeff Grossman » Wed Jul 01, 2020 11:11 pm

NYC only entered Phase 2 last week so it's not certain yet exactly who is gone and who is still hunkered down. We've definitely lost an Italian small-plates wine bar (which opened only a month before the pandemic hit so I never even got to try it) and a Turkish grill (nice people and good food but I never mistook them for competent). So far, that's it.

The City is allowing restaurants to take up sidewalk and parking-lane space - I think I mentioned that before? Anyway, anyplace that is still a going concern has staked-out their new al fresco spot. Some places have nice white picket fencing, some places are using wooden pallets standing on edge, some have strung Xmas lights, etc. But we know they're alive!
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Jenise

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Re: Restaurants go poof

by Jenise » Thu Jul 02, 2020 3:59 pm

I don't know of any restaurants that have formally thrown in the towel here (meaning several probably have, I just don't know about them yet), but some haven't re-opened yet and it's nothing short of certain that many (especially those without outdoor dining options) will have to close. Cooler weather come winter will kill most of the rest. I'm still getting take-out at least once a week to support the healthiest of the local independents, but I'm not optimistic.

A bright spot: Olive Garden might be one of the casualties. Where under almost any other circumstance it would be one of the last restaurants standing because it's so popular with local un-gourmets, the lack of outdoor space and unattractiveness of its busy-street location that would preclude outdoor popularity as even a possibility, it's a goner.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Re: Restaurants go poof

by Pat G » Fri Jul 03, 2020 8:53 pm

Read that Pizza Hut is going bankrupt. Includes Pizza Hut and Wendy's. Neither of which I have patronized in so many years I can't remember....nor have we patronized Olive Garden, Jenise.

As for local places, some didn't reopen until dining-in was allowed. And our county is near to qualifying for further restrictions. Then, no dining in just takeout. I have seen a few signs at smaller places that rented space in strip malls...none are well known...they folded, as did one joint that was open 43 years. What's also happening is that a few brands with several locations are closing the local ones for us, but keeping option to re-open later. None of which are worth driving to more remote locations to obtain stuff.

One hears all sorts of estimates on how many restaurants will survive. IMHO too early to tell.
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Larry Greenly

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Re: Restaurants go poof

by Larry Greenly » Fri Jul 03, 2020 10:47 pm

It's just one franchisee, NPC, that owns 1200 (out of about 7500) Pizza Huts and 400 Wendy's that is going bankrupt. NPC operates only a small portion of Wendy's roughly 6,500 US restaurants.

FWIW, my Wendy's stock is doing just fine.
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Re: Restaurants go poof

by Jenise » Sat Jul 04, 2020 11:44 am

Pat G wrote:One hears all sorts of estimates on how many restaurants will survive. IMHO too early to tell.


Months ago I heard Tom Collichio estimate 75% at a minimum. I've seen nothing to encourage me that it can be any better than that.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Re: Restaurants go poof

by Pat G » Sat Jul 04, 2020 2:05 pm

Larry, glad that your stock is doing fine. In this economy any good news has a way of becoming great news.

Jenise, in reading my trade magazines the key word seems to be pivot. Can a fine dining place pivot to takeout and casual to keep enough of the employees busy? Can they pivot to selling some of their wines as part of the package? Can they pivot to selling groceries, becoming a bakery? Can they pivot from dining in only to takeout & curbside service? Can employees pivot from specializing to multiple skills?

Etc Etc Etc

If 75% of restaurants indeed survive, wonder what the stats are for wineries?
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Re: Restaurants go poof

by Jenise » Sat Jul 04, 2020 2:22 pm

Pat G wrote:Larry, glad that your stock is doing fine. In this economy any good news has a way of becoming great news.

Jenise, in reading my trade magazines the key word seems to be pivot. Can a fine dining place pivot to takeout and casual to keep enough of the employees busy? Can they pivot to selling some of their wines as part of the package? Can they pivot to selling groceries, becoming a bakery? Can they pivot from dining in only to takeout & curbside service? Can employees pivot from specializing to multiple skills?

Etc Etc Etc

If 75% of restaurants indeed survive, wonder what the stats are for wineries?


Other way around. 75% WON'T survive. And I agree re the pivot. Those that are doing okay in my area are the ones who got that early on. But of course, the public needs to pivot too. We probably used to eat in restaurants once or twice a month--aren't many good ones close by, and I cook better than most of them; but now we're buying food from restaurants once or twice a week in order to help out. Everyone needs to do that to make up for the loss of an in-house clientele, or there won't be anything but Wendy's and Starbucks left.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Re: Restaurants go poof

by Pat G » Sat Jul 04, 2020 2:36 pm

I stand corrected, Jenise. That is indeed gloomy, but it may be the reality. We have certainly supported places with safe, convenient takeout practices. Just as we've supported several wineries by purchasing "unneeded" wine. Although my bro argues that there's no such thing as an unneeded wine. It does keep if well-cellared. It's pretty interesting when you get an e-mail from a vintner's wife thanking us for helping them pay their bills and survive.

I've witnessed managers from open places coming in to one place we get takeout, and asking if they have any openings for staff. Apparently there's walk-in traffic looking for jobs, not takeout.
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Re: Restaurants go poof

by Pat G » Sun Jul 12, 2020 3:12 pm

Just read this article. Noted that Yelp cited 41% of businesses that "paused" due to CV19 are now "closed for good". I'm sure other sources have other estimates, but this one does not surprise me.

https://www.foxbusiness.com/money/custo ... restaurant

In our county, re-openings have been rolled back for restaurants. No indoor dining. But they can use parking lot space for outdoor dining. Which is what I saw at several places yesterday. Along with big signs directing to takeout and catering pickups. Just trying to do what they can to survive....
Last edited by Pat G on Sun Jul 12, 2020 3:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Restaurants go poof

by Jenise » Sun Jul 12, 2020 3:27 pm

No reason to question that number. It's at least that bad. Any restaurant that only offers indoor dining is pretty much toast, at least in the near term. "Near" being, most likely, not just the rest of the summer but the next 12 months. And the way things are going in Florida, Texas and Arizona, maybe longer. The virus is out of control.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Larry Greenly

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Re: Restaurants go poof

by Larry Greenly » Sun Jul 12, 2020 4:25 pm

Yeah, it's tough. Nowadays, saying a certain restaurant has a "dessert to die for" takes on a whole new meaning. :mrgreen:

I wonder if Covid-19 knows that it's a hoax :?: :?:
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Jeff Grossman

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Re: Restaurants go poof

by Jeff Grossman » Sun Jul 12, 2020 5:08 pm

My brother lives on Long Island, a place with much more room than the City. He and his family have eaten in parking lots a couple of times already.

Since my last report (up-thread), the only new closure is an artisanal grocer - cheese, hams, jellies, beers, condiments, etc. I have even seen signs of life in a seasonal restaurant named Pilot: it's the top deck of a sailing ship so only runs in the summer. They are open just with fewer tables.
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Re: Restaurants go poof

by Jenise » Sun Jul 12, 2020 8:53 pm

Larry Greenly wrote:I wonder if Covid-19 knows that it's a hoax :?: :?:


Don't you love asking your conservative friends how much they're enjoying it?
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Re: Restaurants go poof

by Larry Greenly » Sun Jul 12, 2020 9:20 pm

When I walked by an unmasked grocery shopper today, I said, "Trump supporter," which got a delayed reaction from the guy. Maybe he'll think twice next time.
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Re: Restaurants go poof

by Jenise » Mon Jul 13, 2020 11:52 am

Zoomed last night with a friend who owns a deli here in Bellingham. He's doing very well. They were already putting his sandwich menu on line for pre-ordering when Covid happened, so the pivot to take-out only was easy and he immediately offered free delivery which no one else did. He nailed it.

Getting dine-in customers to wear masks has been a problem though. One asshole put his mask on his head, not over his face and mouth, and dared Christo to do something about it. In a fair world he'd be the one who got sick and died, but it rarely works out like that.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Re: Restaurants go poof

by Larry Greenly » Mon Jul 13, 2020 5:37 pm

People used to do that with motorcycle helmet laws. They'd wear their helmets on their legs. And sometimes, they'd wake up dead.

Restaurants here allow you to sit and eat at your table w/o wearing your mask, but getting up to use the restroom means you put it back on. Starting today, though, it's a moot point. Restaurants are again take out or outside dining.
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Re: Restaurants go poof

by Jeff Grossman » Mon Jul 13, 2020 10:41 pm

I am over-joyed to note that La Baraka, a restaurant favored by my parents and their friends, is still going! Jean-Luc and Lucette are currently planning their 41st Bastille Day menu:
2020-07-12 La Baraka 41 sm.jpg
2020-07-12 La Baraka 41 sm.jpg (96.92 KiB) Viewed 7817 times
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Re: Restaurants go poof

by Pat G » Thu Jul 23, 2020 2:33 pm

Some of the latest. Related: a few wineries I'm aware of are scaling back production as their restaurant business "goes poof".

https://www.foxbusiness.com/money/yelp- ... tly-closed
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Bill Spohn

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Re: Restaurants go poof

by Bill Spohn » Sun Jul 26, 2020 3:31 pm

Having had quite a few restaurant clients, I can assert that for many or most, while food pays the rent, liquor is what makes money for the wonders. In the absence of liquor sales, the best many can do is hope to break even with take out

Problem is that while the restaurant as an enterprise may break even, the owner had outside commitments like mortgages (or to judge by my clients, alimony) that must be met and with no surplus being generated and no likely purchasers around, there will be quite a few of them going under.

It must also be tough for servers that are being kept on as sales staff (but without tips as no table service takes place). In the cultures where a server gets a subsistence wage and is expected to live in whatever extra they make in tips, it is going to be pretty difficult out there. There are a bunch of countries where there is no strong tipping culture (though they usually have commensurately higher basic wages).
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Re: Restaurants go poof

by Paul Winalski » Sun Jul 26, 2020 3:39 pm

NPR had a story the other day on the issue of tips. Some restaurants have taken the opportunity to move to a a model where staff are paid a decent wage and tips are not expected. Australia and France both work that way, and the tip-not-expected model is what I personally prefer as a restaurant customer.

-Paul W.
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Re: Restaurants go poof

by Jenise » Sun Jul 26, 2020 3:42 pm

Bill, understood on every level. It's why on Friday we left a $5 tip for a take-out burrito. We never tip less than 30% these days--we're painfully aware of how lucky we are, it's no longer about rewarding good service, it's about sharing. Oh, and later that day, we got BBQ takeout in Ballard and ordered two of the house bourbon cocktails, which we drank on Shilsole Beach right out in the open. Further to the reasons you say, I came close to ordering a whole "Montana Manhattan Set" which would have included a liter of Montana bourbon--to take home. Probably should have.

But wow driving around in Seattle Friday. All the boarded up businesses. Heartbreaking.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Re: Restaurants go poof

by Jenise » Sun Jul 26, 2020 3:44 pm

Paul Winalski wrote:NPR had a story the other day on the issue of tips. Some restaurants have taken the opportunity to move to a a model where staff are paid a decent wage and tips are not expected. Australia and France both work that way, and the tip-not-expected model is what I personally prefer as a restaurant customer.

-Paul W.


But Paul, that worked in a good economy. I don't think it's working now. Tom Douglas championed that idea in Seattle, but he's permanently closed four restaurants. And nationwide, Danny Meyer championed that at his Shake Shacks, but this week he reversed it. They need the tips.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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