SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) — Even before the coronavirus outbreak, many Bay Area restaurants were struggling to keep their doors open. They faced rising rents, labor costs and fees that made it tough to do business.
The ones that survive this pandemic know that when they reopen, they will have to adapt.
“You may be having dinner with a waiter wearing gloves, maybe a face mask, dinner where the menu is disposable, where half of the tables in that restaurant no longer appear,” said Governor Gavin Newsom on Tuesday.
DOSA owner Anjan Mitra hopes to reopen his modern Indian restaurants in San Francisco and Oakland.
“I think the margins are going to change, I think the way we structure the restaurants are going to change, I think the way we socialize will change,” said Mitra. “I think we might see people in restaurants, or working there or patrons even wearing masks more often.”
He says he saw DOSA on Fillmore’s revenue essentially dry up in the week before San Francisco officially announced the shelter-in-place order.
“Decreasing the density of a restaurant really will sort of change the economics,” he added. “The economics are difficult to begin with. Now, if you release the density, which you will probably have to do, it’ll be even less profitable. ”
Mitra has since changed his operation to a delivery-only service. Meals are available on delivery apps across multiple Bay Area locations, including Berkeley, San Jose and Palo Alto.
Saratoga’s Plumed Horse Co-Owner Joshua Weeks plans to reopen whenever it is safe to do so.
“The Plumed Horse has been in Saratoga for almost 70 years. It’s kind of deep-rooted in that community,” Weeks said.
The Michelin-starred restaurant was one of the first in the country to provide black glove service and move tables at least 6 feet apart in early March.
“My staff whether they’re cooking in the kitchen or serving in the front of the dining room, bartenders, they will be in masks, gloves, we’ll still have the same type of separation,” he said. “We heard a little bit about the plans from the governor today about disposable menus, which seems like a good no-brainer call for us.”
Other restaurants won’t be coming back at all. After 75 years in Mountain View, Clarke’s Charcoal Broiler has decided that due to the outbreak, it will be impossible for them to continue on.
Hillside Supper Club in San Francisco’s Bernal Heights will also be closing its doors permanently.