Restaurants coping with the change

Image of Nick Seebruch
By Nick Seebruch
Restaurants coping with the change
Hassan Rafiei preparing food in protective gear. Submitted photo.

CORNWALL, Ontario – The restaurant business is not an easy one. According to Canadian Industry Statistics, the average net profits for a mid-sized restaurant business in 2019 was just $22,000 for the year. For lower-mid sized to small restaurants, their net profits were even lower at $4,200 and negative $5,400 respectively.

These are stark numbers and they become even starker when you take into account that they are from 2019, before the COVID-19 pandemic lead to dining rooms being shut across the province.

Now, an industry which was already not for the faint of heart, now has to come up with new and creative ways to survive the ongoing crisis.

They have had a little help from the province, which has allowed them to sell takeout and delivery orders, and for the first time, to deliver alcohol with those orders.

Pick-up and delivery in the age of COVID is not as easy as it sounds.

Schnitzels European Flavours in Cornwall started offering curbside pick-up last week.

Those who want curbside pick-up from Schnitzels can call the restaurant. The order is prepared, and when the client is told to arrive, they wait in their car and the food is brought out to them, as well as a debit machine capable of accepting tap payments.

“The main reason we are back now is to make sure all of the staff were off for a good 14 days to make sure no one was sick,” said Justine Viray-Levac of Schnitzels.

Their team and menu have both been reduced at this time, with five staff members and two cooks. Viray-Levac said that for the most part, the staff travels from home to work and back again.

“Everyone, as soon as they walk-in the door, we sanitize our hands and everyone is in masks and gloves,” she said.

“We are taking every precaution and doing our due diligence.”

Viray-Levac explained that regulations from the government seem to change week-to-week and that there has been a steep learning curve.

“We are usually so busy and very hyper and social people, so it has been a big adjustment,” she said.

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