To end what has been a nightmare 2020 for the restaurant industry, restaurants and bars will be sorely missed on what is set to be one of the most lucrative nights of the year.
New Years Eve – famous for its overpriced meals and plentiful alcoholic beverages – will be a quiet affair as restaurants grapple with occupancy limits, early curfews and, in many parts of the states -Unis, a total ban on indoor meals.
“In recent years, the pre-vacation period was a time for everyone in the company to earn money to accompany us through the lean winter months,” said Kip Michel, Managing Director of the famous Roberta’s pizzeria in Brooklyn. “It’s a difficult time this year.”
Restaurants from New York to Chicago to Los Angeles brace themselves for another blow as the coronavirus pandemic continues to keep people away from overcrowded places and largely confined to their homes. According to a Morning Consult poll, only 7% of Americans plan to eat out on New Years Eve, while the most common plans were to cook dinner at home or watch a movie.
There is plenty to do for restaurants, which tend to do big business on the last night of the year. Visitors to the Outback Steakhouse jumped 48% on the last New Years Eve from an average day in 2019, while Olive Garden’s traffic soared 29% and Applebee’s by 18%, according to an analysis of the data tracking company Placer.ai. Based on trends for 2020, those chains could see declines of more than 30% this year, the company said.
“This is going to be a dramatic loss of revenue,” said Andrew Rigie, executive director of the NYC Hospitality Alliance, which represents restaurants and bars in New York City, the mecca of New Year’s revelers. It will hurt businesses as well as to workers, he added, “employees being either unemployed or tipping a fraction of what they normally would.”
Restaurants are looking for creative ways to make up for sluggish sales, like Zoom calls with magicians or special take-out and delivery menus at premium rates. Del Frisco’s Grill in Hoboken, New Jersey offers a take-out package of filet mignon, steamed lobster tail, and truffle mac and cheese. At DS Tequila Co. of Chicago, there’s a New Years package of fried chicken and champagne.
“Tonight is normally huge for us because we pack a lot of food and drink and sell,” said Dusty Carpenter, director of operations and managing partner for Another Round Hospitality Group, which owns DS Tequila. For many customers, New Years Eve this year is “an afterthought.”
Many restaurants are struggling with curfews before the ball falls, putting another drag on the celebrations.
Papillon 25 in South Orange, New Jersey, is scheduled to close at 10 p.m. due to state restrictions. The restaurant struggled to book reservations for New Years Eve, when it would normally fetch up to $ 20,000, according to co-owner Yanick Ranieri. He ditched the traditional New Years Eve special menu, but offers a free champagne toast.
“This year, if we win $ 3,000, we’ll consider ourselves lucky,” said Ranieri.
Porter, which just opened a few weeks ago in neighboring Weehawken, New Jersey, will have two reduced-capacity seats starting at 4 p.m. can continue the party at home.
“ Such prejudice ”
Still, take-out alcohol, which propelled some bars and restaurants during the pandemic, can only help a lot. “Overall, Covid has been such a detriment to the industry,” said Lynne Collier, analyst at Loop Capital Markets. “The impact of New Years Eve only makes this situation worse.”
Dining inside is completely prohibited across the Hudson River. In Times Square in Manhattan – typically a tourist attraction such as the location of the Olive Garden can charge $ 400 per head on New Years Eve – police put up barriers to keep people away.
Andrew Carmellini, chef and owner of Noho Hospitality Group, which has 18 restaurants and bars, mostly based in New York City, said he plans to bring in just 25% of usual income for New Years Eve. using creative Covid-focused workarounds just to generate even a fraction of typical sales, including glass-walled chalets on the sidewalk to give diners an inside feel on the outside.
“One of the most overused words of the year is pivot,” Carmellini said. “But you have to pivot in the smartest way possible.”
Homeowners should also consider the weather. Like the Carmellini Cabins, Boston’s Woods Hill Pier 4 has installed “igloos” to help guests brave the cold temperatures, which are expected to drop to 27 degrees Fahrenheit. Diners preferred to eat al fresco during the warmer months, but are now thankful for the lighted pods inside, owner Kristin Canty said.
“If it’s cold, they love it,” she said.
In Beverly Hills, where restaurants have been closed for everyone except take-out, celebrity mainstay La Scala has been criticized for promoting a ‘speakeasy’ style indoor dinner on New Years Eve with invitations stuck in. delivery bags.
After an image of the invitation went viral, the city reached out. In a statement posted on its website, the restaurant said it would only consider an event if virus restrictions were lifted before the holidays and the person who wrote the invitation incorrectly said the party would be in. inside.
“If everyone turned their hatred into love and directed it to the people who need it instead of attacking the small businesses trying to survive, that would be a better use of their time,” the restaurant said.