NJ restaurant owners aren’t thrilled about outdoor dining (Opinion)
A lot of people have been cheering the governor’s decision to allow restaurants to operate in New Jersey beginning June 15. But we all know what the caveat is: outdoor dining is the only thing that’s going to be allowed.
And even then, other restrictions are involved, such as tables six feet apart and masks required except for when sitting at a table. We’ve spoken to many people on the air who owned restaurants throughout New Jersey. And even though these restaurant owners are happy to be able to make more money than they can from just takeout and delivery, outdoor dining, especially if you’ve never offered it before, presents a whole new set of challenges.
For instance, many restaurateurs do not have the space or the infrastructure to set up outdoor dining. Plus, there’s the expense. And even if you can afford to set up an outdoor dining area, is it worth investing in it if restaurants are going to go back to normal in a couple of months? Remember, there is a lot of expense involved: Lighting, construction, erecting tents, re-training employees, getting awnings for building, taking care of air circulation, paving of parking lots and so on ad nauseam. Then there’s the question of ambiance. As an example, will a charming modern-looking eatery attract the same clientele if it’s dining room is now housed under a tent?
And what about the weather? How can a diner feel comfortable on a scorching hot or torrentially rainy day when he’s (un)cozily ensconced inside the equivalent of a terrarium? Can a year-or-two-old restaurant that was just starting to get its bearings withstand this substantial business pivot? I’m betting not, and so are most of New Jersey‘s restaurant owners. But what choice do they have? As small business owners in the state of New Jersey, all they can do is continue to grovel and to grab for any crumb of hope that our emperor Governor will see fit to give them.
The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Judi Franco. Any opinions expressed are Judi's own.
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