Some restaurants stop offering takeout due to lack of viability and virus concerns
DILLON — Some restaurants that originally stayed open for takeout amid the countywide shutdown are now closing their doors completely while they weather the storm. Summit County ordered all businesses to close indefinitely on Monday, March 16. The order allowed banks, grocery stores, liquor stores, marijuana dispensaries, pharmacies and gas stations to remain open and allowed dining establishments to continue offering takeout options.
While this sounded like a good way for businesses to continue doing business, restaurants are finding that without tourists, local demand isn’t enough to keep them afloat. Local restaurants and eateries including Butterhorn Bakery & Cafe, 5th Ave Grille and Mi Casa Mexican Restaurant & Cantina have decided to close their doors to both dine-in and takeout options.
Silverheels Bar and Grill and Kemosabe Sushi & Sake filled their final takeout orders on Sunday. Roy Beinfest, assistant general manager of the sister restaurants, said that they’ve decided to stop doing takeout orders for financial reasons.
“It doesn’t make sense,” Beinfest said. “With our business model, it doesn’t work financially.”
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Beinfest said that even at this time of year when business starts to slow down, the restaurants are selling around $15,000 worth of food per day. Now, this number is around $800 to $900. He said that these numbers, despite being down to only four salaried employees for both restaurants, are making the restaurants not economically viable. Beinfest said that with the bills to pay for keeping the computer system running and the lights on, it makes more sense from a business standpoint for the restaurants to simply sit empty until they can be fully operational.
Silverheels and Kemosabe typically have mud season closures, but these only last for up to two weeks if there is a project to be worked on such as renovations. Otherwise, the restaurants might only close for two cleaning days. Beinfest said that while the restaurants hope to reopen, like everyone, he doesn’t know when it will be safe to do so. However, Beinfest acknowledged that even if Summit County is able to start to reopen quicker than other places because of the early action taken by county officials, visitors still may not be able to make the trip due to continued health concerns in other counties and states.
“There’s a lot of people who think they can fully open when shutdown is lifted … I think that’s wishful thinking,” Beinfest said. “I don’t know if it’s going to be that easy.”
While locals who are financially able have been helping to support local restaurants by getting takeout meals, Beinfest said that the restaurants in Summit County aren’t typically designed to function on local business alone and that without the tourists, even restaurants like pizza places that typically do a lot of business through takeout can’t be supported without visitors.
Many restaurants announced their intentions to continue providing takeout orders following the shutdown order, but since, restaurants are slowly deciding against this option and opting to simply close their doors for the indefinite future. Butterhorn Bakery announced their closure in a Facebook post on March 17, attributing the closure to “concern for the community” and “the severity of this virus.” Two days later, 5th Ave Grille posted on Facebook that they would stop conducting takeout and delivery orders “for the safety of our staff and customers alike to heed further warnings from local, state and federal agencies.” Aurum posted a note on their website explaining their closure on Friday.
“We have been so blessed by your support; however, the situation has become too difficult to justify our staying open,” the post read. “Until the local authorities tell us otherwise, we will remain hunkered down for the duration.”
Other establishments have opted to continue shortening their hours. Carboy Winery, which is typically open from 12 p.m. to 9 p.m. started by changing their hours to 12 p.m. to 7 p.m. and now are down to 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. General manager Chris Butler said the shortening of hours is due to the “significant dropoff in business” the winery has seen. Butler said that they are seeing just one to two customers per day who are mostly buying bottles of wine. He said that while the winery was originally selling food menu items to-go, food sales have been “nonexistent” and the winery is now just doing wine and charcuterie items.
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