Survivors of the Philly restaurant scene have started to expire
The restaurant industry in Philadelphia is coming out of its long winter made worse by the battered and bruised coronavirus pandemic, but it is emerging nonetheless.
An art installation with a simple message, seen outside Cafe Lift in the Callowhill neighborhood of Philadelphia in February 2021.
March is normally the month when business starts to pick up for restaurants, as the winter pattern of dead periods punctuated by vacations gives way to warmer weather and more spontaneous culinary excursions. But the expansion of outdoor dining, stimulus controls and vaccines have combined to make the improvement even more dramatic this year.
In the Grand Downtown – whose limits Downtown district defines as Girard Avenue to the north, Tasker Street to the south and the Delaware River to the east and the Schuylkill River to the west – the number of outdoor diners increased by more than 20%, from 3,653 in February to 4,406 in mid-March, according to CCD data.
“In March, we saw a dramatic increase in volume,” said Mixto director Francisco Antunez. Bisnow. Mixto is a Latin Caribbean restaurant located on the west side of Washington Square in the downtown area.
Some restaurants were able to keep themselves going during the first few months of the pandemic and again during the winter months locked down with take-out and robust deliveries. Others struggled but succeeded, while some closed to save money and reopened within the last month. But at least 64 restaurants across the city have closed permanently since last March.
Excitement over the reopening of businesses in Philadelphia, as more gatherings were allowed and restaurants with approved ventilation systems were allowed to open indoor dining rooms at 50% capacity, may -being led to a little exuberance. Coronavirus the number of cases in Philadelphia has significantly increased since mid-March, and if they continue to do so before a critical mass of the population can get vaccinated, protocols could again be tightened.
“Most people get frustrated not when things get bad, but when things start to get better and they don’t get better fast enough,” said Paul Levy, District CEO of Center City. “We are obviously at that transition point which has not yet taken 100% root.”
A key accelerator of the downtown restaurant takeover process will be the return of workers to the office. In February, foot traffic was still down 75% from February 2020, the last full month before the imposition of pandemic restrictions, reports the CCD. Although Pennsylvania started to allow office work at 75% of its capacity from April 1, Philadelphia still mandates all non-essential staff to work remotely.
“It’s not hard to go four or six weeks ahead and be optimistic,” Levy said. “The challenge is now. “
Like more scientific data supported the safety of outdoor dining without enclosure, another wave of infections and suppression of inner capacity would meet with renewed frustration but not be the same existential crisis as during the winter months, several restaurant managers have said. Bisnow.
Mixto Restaurante, a pan-Latin restaurant in downtown Philadelphia, seen in 2010.
In addition to the increase in business, more programs have been launched in recent weeks to provide grants and forgivable loans to restaurants, since the most recent federal stimulus plan to the programs offered by the city of philadelphia and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The city has already given $ 12 million in grants to 900 businesses, 80% of which were restaurants.
In addition to a new, more targeted cycle of Paycheque Protection Program, $ 28.6 billion federal has been allocated to individual restaurants across the country. Pennsylvania COVID-19[feminine Le plan de relance de l’industrie hôtelière ajoute 145 millions de dollars supplémentaires du Commonwealth, dont Philadelphie recevra 17 millions de dollars pour des subventions comprises entre 5 000 et 50 000 dollars. Aucun directeur de restaurant ne commenterait Bisnow si leurs établissements avaient reçu une aide financière.
« Maintenant, les restaurants commencent à recevoir beaucoup plus d’aide, ce qui est bien », a déclaré Fatima, directrice de Libertés du Nord restaurant El Camino Real.
L’un des aspects les plus dévastateurs des mesures de verrouillage de l’année dernière a été la perte généralisée d’emplois dans l’industrie hôtelière. Même les restaurants qui maintenaient des commerces de plats à emporter ont mis en congé ou licencié des serveurs parce qu’ils n’avaient pas assez de tables pour tout le monde. Au début du mois de mars, l’emploi dans le commerce de détail dans la ville était supérieur aux niveaux d’avant la pandémie, mais cela est dû à des augmentations de l’embauche dans épiceries et la vente au détail à grande surface, a déclaré Levy. Cela signifie qu’une grande partie du bassin potentiel de candidats a déjà évolué.
“Pour le moment, nous manquons de personnel”, a déclaré Fatima. « Il n’y a tout simplement pas assez de candidats ; c’est le principal problème.
Une fois que la restauration à l’intérieur se développera davantage, l’embauche devra augmenter encore plus, bien que le service soit, par nature, un travail saisonnier.
“C’est une entreprise avec un grand chiffre d’affaires”, a déclaré Levy. « Alors ça m’inquiète moins [than other factors]. The restaurant industry is skilled, but it is built more around friendliness and quality of service.
As restaurants try to keep overheads as low as possible and al fresco dining remains heavily weather-dependent, jobs are likely to come back in spurts.
“It’s only part of the industry – you get really, really busy, then slow,” Fatima said. “It’s just a lot harder now.”