Author: David Klemt

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Prepare for a Luxe Life Summer

Prepare for a Luxe Life Summer

by David Klemt

BMW M cars parked next to private airplane

When we think of restaurant and bar tech and platforms, we tend to think of POS and inventory solutions. But what about guest-facing services?

We’re all familiar with online ordering, reservation, and review platforms. What I’m talking about is guest-facing tech that focuses on the luxury lifestyle.

For those living the high-roller life, every convenience is at the tap of an icon, including private jets, helicopters, yachts, and luxury and exotic vehicles.

What does any of this have to do with hospitality? Anyone who serves or courts high-net-worth guests needs to understand how they live and what they expect. This is even more important as summer approaches, vaccine rates improve, and pandemic guidelines relax.

Additionally, there are partnerships and marketing opportunities for operators and luxury lifestyle platforms.

Flight

Flying private isn’t solely the domain of those who can afford to shell out several million dollars for the plane of their dreams.

The proliferation of the sharing economy means people can hop on a charter flight for a fraction of the cost.

Blade

Do you hate waiting in traffic, even if you’re not the one doing the driving? Wish you could just jump into the air and leapfrog a sea of cars keeping you from, say, an airport? With Blade, you can summon a helicopter and make your flight in minutes.

JSX

Formerly known as JetSuite X, JSX serves the western region of America and Texas. If the thought of flying commercial is unbearable at the moment, JSX makes it easy to jump onto a 30-seat set via private terminals for non-stop flights.

NetJets

We’ve all been there: We want our own private jet but it’s just slightly out of reach at the moment (by many millions of dollars). NetJet gives people fractional ownership of private jets and provides top-notch, personal service. The company’s fleet includes everything from six-passenger Embraer Phenom 300 jets to the high-speed, long-range 14-passenger Bombardier Global 7500.

Wheels Up

This company offers three levels of membership: Connect, Core and Business. Wheels Up is more than a transportation app—they’re a lifestyle brand. The company offers membership perks such as exclusive events and concierge services, which should be of particular interest to hospitality operators.

Float

There are a couple of tropes that come along with boat ownership. One is that the two happiest days for a boat owner are the day they take possession and the day they get rid of it.

And then there’s the classic “definition” of a boat: “A hole in the water into which one throws money.”

However, much like one can dial up a helicopter or grab a seat on a Gulfstream, people can now charter a yacht for a fraction of boat ownership. Choose the yacht that meets your yachtin’ needs, board it, and crank the yacht rock.

Float

Any boat that someone uses for cruising, leisure, pleasure or racing is a yacht. So, the yacht life isn’t exclusively for ocean-going vessels. Float lets customers “rent the lake life,” connecting boat owners with people who want to rent boats on lakes. One of the best parts of Float is that it doesn’t, as far as we can tell, cost thousands of dollars per day to rent a boat via the platform.

GetMyBoat

This is a huge platform. We found more than 12,100 boats available in America, more than 4,400 in Australia, and well over 28,000 in Europe on GetMyBoat. Given the size of the platform, there’s a large swing when it comes to rental costs, which makes sense. For instance, there was a 21-inch Sea Hunt Ultra 210 for $44/hour (four-hour minimum) in Virginia and a 40-foot VanDutch Ultra Luxury Yacht for $4,000 for eight hours.

YachtLife

Serving an array of locations with a rather impressive portfolio of boats, YachtLife offers three membership levels catering to various needs. Beyond living the yacht life, the company provides perks and specials from their partners. This platform should be of particular interest to our Florida and Eastern Caribbean clients.

Four Wheels

So, someone grabs a helicopter to a private hangar, looking forward to lounging on the their rental yacht.

Sure, they could take a limo to the marina, or they could use the car service their plane or boat membership offers.

But they could also decide to drive themselves. Obviously, not just any car rental will do.

Turo

There are various Porsches and Mercedes listings on Turo that cost well under $200 a day. But for those looking for something exotic, a Lamborghini Huracan is around $1,000 per day, and an Aventador is around $1,400. You can’t show up to the marina behind the wheel of just anything, right?

Image: Jakob Rosen on Unsplash

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Stand Out with Weird Holidays: June

Stand Out with Weird Holidays: June

by David Klemt

Stay Weird neon sign with purple background

Want to stand out from from other restaurants and bars in your area? Then commit to keeping it weird.

Several “holidays” are set against every date on the calendar, and June is no exception. These holidays range from mainstream to food-centric to weird.

Focus on the latter to raise eyebrows, carve out a niche for your restaurant or bar, and attract more guests. Why do what everyone else is already doing?

Of course, you shouldn’t try to celebrate every holiday, weird or otherwise. And this month’s list in no way includes every odd holiday.

Focus on the days that are authentic to your brand; resonate with your guests; and help you grab attention on social media.

For last month’s list, click here.

June 3: National Egg Day

How are your sour cocktails? Celebrate the egg on this day by featuring your egg white-powered drinks.

June 7: National VCR Day

Leverage nostalgia by showcasing an outdated way to enjoy movies and TV shows. If you really want to immerse yourself and your guests in this holiday, find a VCR and some movies on VHS, come up with some themed cocktails, and lure in nostalgia-thirsty guests. (Make sure you have the proper licenses in place to play music, movies, TV shows, etc.)

June 8: National Name Your Poison Day

Talk about a perfect holiday for a bar! This is an excellent day to design a call promotion around or to highlight your bar team’s ability to create delicious cocktails on the fly based on guests’ spirits preferences.

June 13: International Axe Throwing Day

Are you one of the operators who has introduced axe throwing to your restaurant, bar or eatertainment venue? Then do we have the holiday for you and your guests…

June 16: Bloomsday

This holiday honors revered Irish writer James Joyce. The story goes that Joyce’s favorite dram was Jameson, so get those bottles and specials ready.

June 18: National Splurge Day

Have some high-dollar spirits, beers, wines and dishes? Promote them loudly on this day and encourage your guests to truly treat themselves.

June 24: National Bomb Pop Day

There’s more than one way to celebrate this fun, refreshing and nostalgic holiday. For instance, there are various versions of the Bomb Pop cocktail. Another example is offering housemade boozy Bomb Pops. And then you can always simply garnish drinks with Bomb Pops.

June 25: National Take Your Dog to Work Day

If you have a dog-friendly restaurant, bar or lounge, encourage people who have brought their dogs to work to pop in for a well-deserved bite and drink.

June 30: Social Media Day

Feel like your social media savvy could use some work? Want your guests to plaster your business all over social? Use this holiday to improve your social media skills, add followers, and increase engagement with the help of the people who support your business.

Image: Dan Parlante on Unsplash

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Play with High West, Protect the Plains

Play with High West, Protect the Plains

by David Klemt

Prairie Dash mobile game from High West and American Prairie

For a limited time, you can help help protect the Great Plains of Montana just by playing a fun mobile game.

High West and American Prairie are partnering for a short time to raise $50,000.

The money from playing Prairie Dash will go toward conserving Montana’s Great Plains.

A Dash of Conservation

High West has long been supportive of conservation efforts throughout the West. For every game of Prairie Dash people play, the distillery will donate $1 to American Prairie, up to $50,000.

Proceeds from sales of High West American Prairie Bourbon from the distillery’s online store or Drizly will also go to American Prairie.

The game is simple but, of course, challenging to play. Using your thumbs, you’re trying to get a pronghorn to its actual, real-world top speed: 61 MPH.

Interesting aside you can share this month while you’re serving guests or out for a drink, the pronghorn is known as the American antelope. However, the Great Plains mammal is most closely related to giraffes.

Each time you get the pronghorn to its top speed, you’ll be presented with a different obstacle-clearing challenge.

The Leaderboard

Players are given a number of entries depending on their scores. So, the higher you score, the more entries you’ll have the opportunity to submit.

The prize, beyond helping conserve the West during Outdoors Month, is incredible.

One winner will head to High West’s distillery in Park City, Utah, for a one-of-a-kind, curated experience.

So, click this link to play Prairie Dash—the game will only be available through the end of June.

“We are committed to celebrating and conserving the beauty and nature of the West, the place we call home. With the launch of Prairie Dash, we’re excited to bring that mission to life and provide both High West loyalists and new brand fans with a chance to take part in the efforts,” says High West general manager Daniel Schear. “American Prairie is truly one of the most fantastic projects of our time, and it’s been an honor to work alongside their team to protect today’s Western habitats for future generations to come. We invite our community to join in on the movement, too, all while enjoying a little friendly competition and sipping on one of our favorites, American Prairie Bourbon.”

Good luck! See you on the leaderboard.

Image courtesy of High West

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5 Books to Read this Month: June

5 Books to Read this Month: June

by David Klemt

Flipping through an open book

This month’s fun and informative book selections will help you develop next-level culinary, beverage and leadership skills.

To review last month’s book recommendations, click here.

Let’s dive in!

The Japanese Art of the Cocktail

Available as of today, this is the first cocktail book written by Masahiro Urushido, the award-winning bartender from NYC’s Katana Kitten. After just one year with Urushido at the helm, Katana Kitten took home a 2019 Spirited Award. The Japanese Art of the Cocktail features 80 recipes and serves as a deep dive into a unique approach to cocktails and technique.

Hennessy: A Toast to the World’s Preeminent Spirit

In a nod to today’s episode of the Bar Hacks podcast, we’re happy to share this amazing book that has something between its covers for everyone. Hennessy is equal parts history, humor, lifestyle, recipes, and illustrative and photographic work of art. Shepard Fairey, Nas, Fab 5 Freddy, and others contribute stories and insights in this amazing bar book.

Cocktail Dive Bar

The subtitle of this recently published book is “Real Drinks, Fake History, and Questionable Advice,” which should tell you this is going to be a fun read. In Cocktail Dive Bar, T. Cole Newton, the operator behind NOLA’s Twelve Mile Limit, mixes classic and original cocktail recipes with essays, advice and coloring book elements. Bars are supposed to be fun, and this book is a welcome reminder of that fact.

Mezcal and Tequila Cocktails: Mixed Drinks for the Golden Age of Agave

Robert Simonson is a New York Times writer and James Beard Award-nominated author who has written an impressive amount of cocktail and spirits books. His latest, Mezcal and Tequila Cocktails, shares more than 60 recipes that feature—you guessed it—mezcal and tequila. Most of the recipes aren’t at all complicated but they’re still full of agave flavor and an array of profiles. Whether you’re a neophyte or an aficionado, this book is for you.

Bar Hacks: Developing The Fundamentals for an Epic Bar

Yep, I’m 0nce again promoting a book from KRG Hospitality president Doug Radkey. Hey, I didn’t mention one last month, so cut me some slack. Bar Hacks is Doug’s first book and the title of the eponymous, KRG-produced podcast. Looking to hone the fundamentals? Want to develop effective strategies? Eager to open or grow a profitable, scalable, sustainable, consistent and memorable venue in one of the most cut-throat industries in the world? Grab this book today!

Image: Mikołaj on Unsplash

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EEOC Clarifies Vaccine Stance

EEOC Clarifies Vaccine Stance

by David Klemt

Covid-19 vaccine vial on blue background

American employers have the right to require Covid-19 vaccination as a condition of employment.

This is according to recent clarifications from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

Perhaps learning from yet more missteps from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the EEOC is making their position clearer.

Requirements

Per the EEOC, requiring workers to get a Covid-19 vaccine doesn’t violate federal law.

However, an employer failing to provide “reasonable accommodation” in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act would be illegal.

According to the EEOC’s guidance update:

“Federal EEO laws do not prevent an employer from requiring all employees physically entering the workplace to be vaccinated for COVID-19, so long as employers comply with the reasonable accommodation provisions of the ADA and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and other EEO considerations. Other laws, not in EEOC’s jurisdiction, may place additional restrictions on employers.”

Additionally, employers who offer on-site vaccinations take on an additional responsibility. They must keep confidential any personal medical information gleaned during employee pre-vaccination screenings.

Of course, the agency’s guidance isn’t only for employers. Employees can access a fact sheet explaining pandemic-specific protections that are in place.

Incentives

The EEOC’s update also addresses the right for employers to offer employees vaccine incentives.

In short, the agency says incentives are legal as long as they’re not coercive. Of course, legal experts will argue that one person’s perception of coercion will differ from another’s.

Really, the only example the EEOC provides for what may constitute a coercive incentive is “a very large incentive” that may make an employee “feel pressured to disclose protected medical information.”

Per a survey by Arizona State University and the Rockefeller Foundation, two-thirds of employers plan to offer vaccination incentives rather than mandates. However, nearly half say they’ll implement mandates if incentives don’t work. Only one-third of survey respondents don’t plan to impose vaccination requirements on employees.

Challenges

Look, we all know America is a litigious society. Given that, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that some states have already banned vaccine requirements and passports.

Nor should it be a shock that lawsuits have been filed by employees challenging the legality of vaccine requirements. At least half of US states have introduced bills seeking to seek to limit COVID-19 vaccine mandates.

Operators have a lot to consider when it comes to vaccine requirements and incentives. For example, offering the incentive that fully vaccinated employees can go maskless at work while non-vaccinated workers must wear masks can be a form of discrimination.

Beyond legal challenges, operators must also contend with public perception and backlash. With the divisions plaguing America currently, operators have a lot to think about before requiring Covid-19 vaccines for employees. While some guests will view such requirements as a responsible move that protects employees, guests and the public, others will see it as a massive violation of personal freedoms and a form of tyranny.

Truly, this is a time when operators must seriously draw on their leadership abilities, empathy, and emotional intelligence.

Clearly, the topics of vaccine requirements and vaccine incentives necessitate careful consideration. This is an important leadership moment that hinges on an operator’s understanding of their team, their guests, and the market in which they operate.

Do not make vaccine decisions lightly.

Disclaimer

This content is for informational purposes only, and should not be used as legal or other advice. This article does not constitute legal advice, nor does any information constitute a comprehensive or complete statement of the matters discussed or the law. This information is of a general nature and does not address the circumstances of a specific individual or entity. The reader of this information alone assumes the sole responsibility of evaluating the merits and risks associated with the use of any information before making any decisions based on such information.

Image: Daniel Schludi on Unsplash

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State of the RRF: By the Numbers

State of the RRF: By the Numbers

by David Klemt

Wad of dollar bills with red rubber band

The “tale of the tape” of the Restaurant Revitalization Fund tells a clear story: the RRF needs an injection of tens of billions of dollars.

Clearly, $28.6 was nowhere near enough to award every eligible restaurant and bar with a grant.

In fact, the RRF would need at least another $50 billion to serve all eligible applicants.

The Numbers

First, the Small Business Administration is to be commended for setting up the RRF portal, making the application process clear, and handling applications well.

However, there’s one glaring issue with the RRF and the review and awards process. I’ll get to that in the next section.

Per the National Restaurant Association, more than 362,000 applications were submitted via the RRF portal.

In total, the applications add up to $75 billion in grant requests. Again, the RRF was funded by the government with $28.6 billion. It doesn’t take a mathematician to see that the fund was severely underfunded.

Controversy

Last week, a number of Republican members of Congress sent a letter to the SBA. The gist of their message was that the RRF’s closure was premature. Therefore, the group concluded, non-priority applicants wouldn’t receive grants or even have the opportunity to apply for grants.

In the letter, which can be reviewed here, the authors also took shots at Democrats, the Biden Administration, and undocumented immigrants.

Setting politics aside, the announcement of the RRF’s portal closure was inarguably premature. The application process was first opened on Monday, May 3. For the first 21 days, the SBA announced that while all eligible entities could apply, only priority applicants would be processed and awarded grants.

However, the RRF portal closed to applications on Monday, May 24…21 days after it first opened. The members of Congress who penned the letter to the SBA have a point: the SBA closed the RRF portal after only operating within the priority window.

Now What?

There’s no other way to put this: The RRF needs more funding.

Essentially, it needs twice the funding it had when it was first seeded. There’s zero guarantee that Congress will address this matter, but at least a handful of lawmakers are aware of the dire situation.

Two weeks ago, the NRA launched a petition urging the government to replenish the RRF. Of course, the RRF also needs to be reopened for applications, and the application process needs to be open to all eligible applicants.

There’s no promise the petition will achieve the desired result but we must do something. Click here to sign the petition and tell Congress the RRF needs to be replenished and reopened.

Image: Karolina Grabowska from Pexels

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What the B.C. Restart Means for Operators

What the B.C. Restart Means for Operators

by David Klemt

The Next Step chalk concept with footprints

In news that’s not exactly surprising, the British Columbia “circuit breaker” expiration didn’t lead to a full reopening.

Instead, the province is launching the B.C. Restart plan.

Obviously, not returning to restriction-free restaurant and bar service is disappointing. However, the plan does give operators dates against which they can plan for staffing, inventory, and other aspects of running their businesses.

Of course, that’s only if officials execute the plan as-is.

Not Surprising

As B.C. operators are well aware, the expiration of the province’s “circuit breaker” doesn’t mean they can return to pre-pandemic operations. Clearly, it would’ve been helpful to the province’s hospitality operators for officials like Premier John Horgan to have made that clear last week.

Resources are razor thin and have been since the start of the pandemic and pandemic-driven shutdowns and restrictions. The more lead time officials can provide hospitality operators to prepare for changes to Covid-19 operational protocols, the better.

Let me say that again for any officials who may read this: Restaurant, bar and other hospitality businesses need more than a few days’ notice to prepare for rule changes.

As long as B.C. Restart targets are hit and numbers don’t head in the wrong direction, at least the new plan is clearer than last week’s expiration announcement.

Four-step Plan

B.C. Restart targets four dates that should remain in place as long as Covid-19 case, hospitalization and death rates remain low. Conversely, the province is seeking increases in adult vaccination rates (for dose one).

Unsurprisingly, the province is now in step one of the four-step B.C. Restart plan. The goal is to achieve a 60-percent dose-one vaccination rate among the province’s adult population. A mask mandate is in place provincewide, as are safety protocols like social distancing. Indoor and outdoor dining is restricted to a maximum of six people, with safety protocols.

The earliest date for step two to begin is June 15 and targets a 65-percent adult vaccination rate. B.C.’s mask mandate remains, as do business safety protocols and physical distancing measures. Interestingly, the province’s travel restrictions are removed.

Step three starts on June 1 at the earliest, targeting a 70-percent adult inoculation rate, low Covid-19 case rate, and decline in hospitalizations. Officials will announce new PPE and social distancing guidelines, organized indoor and outdoor gathering capacity will increase, and nightclubs and casinos will reopen (with capacity limits and safety protocols).

If all goes to plan, September 7 is the earliest start to step four, which targets a dose-one adult vaccination rate of more than 70 percent. B.C. will permit a return to “normal” social contact.

For Operators

Restaurant and bar operators—at the moment—should focus on steps one and two of B.C. Restart.

The reason is simple: During steps one and two, restaurants and bars must operate under the pre-circuit-breaker health and safety protocols.

So, operators must follow these rules for step one:

  • Indoor and outdoor dining capacity: 6 people
  • Liquor service curfew: 10:00 PM

And the following for step two:

  • Indoor and outdoor dining capacity: 6 people
  • Liquor service curfew: Midnight

Should things stay on track, step three will rescind the liquor service curfew, and there will be no group limit for indoor and outdoor dining.

Obviously, B.C. Restart isn’t what operators wanted when officials announced the expiration of the circuit breaker. However, the new plan does allow operators to plan ahead and gives us a glimpse of a light at the end of a very long, very erratic, very dark tunnel.

To review the plan in more detail, click here.

Image: Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

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Remote Restaurant Workers are Here

Remote Restaurant Workers are Here

by David Klemt

Remote, work-from-home setup

When people think of working from home, rarely do they picture restaurant professionals working remotely.

Normally, people associate working from home with desk and cubicle jobs across an array of industries.

A newer technology company is trying to change that perception.

New Restaurant Tech

Bite Ninja seeks to match restaurants with remote workers to online ordering and drive-thru operations more efficient.

Let’s say your business has a drive-thru window. Obviously, someone has to work that window, meaning there are labor costs that accompany it.

As operators know, it’s difficult to recruit, hire and train right now. Some states point to the $300 federal boost to unemployment as a main culprit for the labor shortage restaurants are facing currently, announcing exits to the program.

According to Bite Ninja, remote workers are a feasible solution to labor and cost challenges (at least for some operations).

The tech company trains “Virtual Cashiers” and provides on-demand access to these remote workers.

Benefits

Per Bite Ninja, the company provides operators with several benefits. First and foremost, it would seem, is an answer to staffing challenges.

Obviously, if utilizing virtual cashiers costs less than recruiting, hiring, training and employing their counterpart, that’s a benefit. Another benefit? More staff is available to engage with and serve dining room and patio guests.

On the subject of no-call no-shows, the platform claims that simply doesn’t happen with their remote workers.

While not a solution for every operation, Bite Ninja also claims upsell averages of between $40 and $60 per shift. More importantly, the company says order accuracy through their virtual cashiers is nearly 100 percent. According to Bite Ninja, the average upsell per shift pays for a venue’s hired ninja. If that’s the case and virtual cashiers pay for themselves while making an operator more money, perhaps employees can see a pay bump.

Additionally, the company tracks some key metrics for their clients, including customer volume, order accuracy, and upsells.

KRG Hospitality Takeaway

We appreciate restaurant and bar tech that helps operators lower costs, increase profits, solve problems, improve the guest experience, and increase guest visit frequency.

However, we’re not fans of tech that eliminates a position from the industry and takes someone out of the workforce.

Bite Ninja isn’t a labor solution for every hospitality operation. For those who see the value in remote restaurant workers, at least the company isn’t building robots that eliminate one or more human jobs outright.

Image: Jonathan Kemper on Unsplash

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California Announces Major Shift

California Announces Major Shift

by David Klemt

Face masks forming an X on a red background

California is planning for a major shift in Covid-19 protocols and there’s a date set against the state’s most recent announcement.

In three weeks, restaurants and bars will be able to return to pre-pandemic operations, essentially.

This stands in stark contrast to the Golden State’s initial response to the pandemic: they were the first to implement a shelter-in-place order officially.

California Covid-19 Numbers

Due to vaccination rates and other numbers, California plans to reopen completely on June 15.

As of the end of last week, California’s Covid-19 vaccination, infection and death rates are favorable. The numbers are driving the June 15 reopening.

For example, half of adult residents—those age 18 and up—in California are fully vaccinated. Nearly 70 percent have received at least a single vaccination dose.

The numbers are even higher for those who are at least 65 years of age:

  • Single dose: 90 percent
  • Full vaccination: 70 percent

California is achieving their numbers by vaccinating more than a quarter-million residents per day. Nearly 40 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines have been administered.

Most recently, the most-populous state in America is seeing a weekly Covid-19 infection case rate of approximately 1,200.

California Restaurants and Bars

What Covid-19 restrictions will California foodservice and drinking establishments operate under on June 15?

Not many.

There will be no capacity restrictions for indoor or outdoor service, nor social distancing requirements on-premise for guests. If there are no social distancing requirements, it stands to reason that guests will be able to move freely inside restaurants and bars.

However, California will follow—according to available information—the CDC’s most recent mask guidance. The agency’s recommendations pertain to those with full vaccinations.

Of course, operators still have the right to keep some or all of their own Covid-19 protocols in place. Indeed, some team members and guests may feel safer if masks and social distancing remain past June 15.

Operators who plan to maintain Covid-19 protocols need to provide staff and the public that information. Also, operators must keep in mind that guest-facing employees will be in the crosshairs if mask and distance requirements remain. It would be wise to set and announce vaccination and infection rates against the rescinding of such protocols and share those numbers.

Image: Solen Feyissa on Unsplash

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Return of the Indoor Diners: B.C.

Return of the Indoor Diners: B.C.

by David Klemt

Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada skyline

Good news for operators, foodservice professionals and the public as British Columbia prepares for a return to indoor dining.

The ban on indoor dining is set to expire tomorrow, along with the rest of B.C.’s so-called “circuit breaker” restrictions.

However, it remains unclear still whether restaurants can throw their doors open and welcome guests first-thing Tuesday morning.

Confusion

Some operators and restaurant advocacy groups believe the restriction on indoor dining expires at 11:59 PM tonight.

It follows, in their opinion, that the expiration means operators can offer indoor service the following morning, Tuesday, May 25.

Of course, it’s never that cut and dry, is it?

Much like the CDC’s recent update to mask and social distancing recommendations in America, B.C.’s restaurant restrictions are only causing confusion.

While the “circuit breaker” restrictions put in place back in March are set to expire, Premier John Horgan and other officials haven’t made it clear if more restrictions will be put in place.

Additionally, restaurant and other hospitality operators haven’t been given much notice. They’re simply aware that current restrictions expire before midnight tonight.

Consistently Inconsistent

It’s never great to feel like you’re on the back foot. Unfortunately, operators still don’t receive much in the way of a heads up when rules and recommendations change.

Once again, officials and the public make it clear that they think restaurants and bars can simply flip a switch and return to regular service. Once again, the industry and its challenges are ignored.

When those with the power to impose restrictions are vague about what operators should expect after their rules expire, it makes it nearly impossible for operators to prepare properly for what comes next.

Should operators plan on an increase in traffic because they can once again fill their dining rooms? Will they need to prepare for 25-, 50- or 75-percent capacity restrictions? Are their going to be limits to outdoor dining, delivery, carryout and curbside pickup?

How much F&B and other products should they order, planning for a return to indoor dining or more restrictions? In terms of staffing, should operators plan to run with a skeleton or full crew?

Every one of those questions—and several more—have an impact on resources, revenue and survivability. When officials fail to provide all the necessary information when making important announcements, they only cause confusion and create more questions than answers. Too often, they foist their responsibilities onto business owners and the public.

There’s no excuse.

Preparation

Unfortunately, there’s no silver bullet to offer operators in this situation. They’ll need to monitor the situation in B.C. and await clear guidance from government officials pertaining to any upcoming restrictions.

Yet again given no meaningful notice, it’s going to be difficult for operators to plan to get the most out of this week and the near future.

Still, operators will want to give staff notice that they should plan to work. It’s less than ideal but operators should plan to schedule against a few possibilities: a new indoor dining ban, indoor dining with capacity restrictions, and a full return indoor dining.

One of these days, perhaps politicians will listen to our massive industry’s requests and serve us better.

Image: Aditya Chinchure on Unsplash

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