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Dining in the New Reality

Over the past few months of the Covid-19 Pandemic, America’s restaurant industry has perished. It’s no surprise to anyone across our country that we are seeing local favorites, iconic destinations, and community treasures shutting their doors and waving their followers and employees goodbye. Establishments have created online merchandise, are fundraising, and frantically pushing delivery and pickup orders through their kitchens. With retail already under serious threat from online sales, restaurants have become a critical backbone to the tax bases and social fabric of many communities.

Historically in order to turn a profit most restaurants need to pack in the number of tables and maximize the number of covers they are able to do in a shift. In order to survive, restaurants are being forced to either close or adapt to our new reality. With the new social distancing requirements, most restaurants will need to reduce their capacity by 50 -75% within their storefronts making it virtually impossible to be profitable. This is especially true in larger cities and suburbs where the backbone of kitchen culture resides in tiny intimate spaces.

One creative solution we are working on to expand restaurant seating is a modular line of outdoor ‘seatlets’ fabricated out of converted shipping containers. These can be located along street parking, courtyards or parking lots. This idea is fast getting traction from many local jurisdictions who are relaxing traditional zoning rules to mitigate the devastation to the downtown communities. Like all our units, these will provide flexible and safe seating options for patrons and be pre-permitted at the State level to be located anywhere quickly and easily. They arrive, pre-finished and complete. Presently we are looking at 20’ and 40’ modules in a variety of formats with many creative add-ons for finishing and branding.

Restaurants ultimately serve much more than food; they play a critical role in shaping the culture of their community, providing local jobs and much-needed social connectivity and vibrancy. A thriving restaurant scene helps support other aspects of retail and entertainment further impacting the community in positive ways. It is vital that we collectively support our restaurants and aid in their reopening and recovery to overcome these desperate times.

Martha Trela, CEO, and Jerry Jameson, CIO

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