The restaurant business is facing a shake-up unlike anything we have seen in our lifetimes. Restaurants have traditionally been viewed as the “third place” where people not only eat and drink, but socialize with one another to give and receive hospitality. The COVID-19 crisis and social distancing have changed much of that valued interaction we all get from being a part of the restaurant business, whether as a guest, employer, employee, or supplier.
While food and beverage operations have been identified as critical or essential services during the shutdowns that have been put into effect, keeping restaurants open while keeping employees and guests safe is a big challenge. Then there are the financial considerations. For owners and operators facing fixed costs that need to be covered, tough decisions need to be made in regards to dealing with their supply chain, landlords, support services, and staff. Businesses are also contending with shorter hours of operation and significant reductions in volume and sales, particularly when it comes to important add-ons like alcohol, appetizers, sides, and dessert items. Some restaurants are choosing to close to cut their projected losses while others are trying to retool how they do business.
On April 3rd, Cornell University School of Hotel Administration and the Cornell Institute for Food and Beverage Management (CIFBM) will bring together restaurant executives and faculty experts to offer solutions to the challenges that operators, employees, and guests are experiencing in our new normal.