For restaurants to survive the pandemic, order delivery and takeout
Governor Jay Inslee has temporarily shut down all bars and restaurants in the state of Washington, with the exception of take-out and delivery service. While some restaurants have shuttered, others are giving takeout a go. But either way, times are tough for the industry.
“Right now there is no help available to us that I can find,” said Brendan McGill, chef/owner at Hitchcock restaurant group. Brendan owns six restaurants between Seattle and Bainbridge Island, including Hitchcock and Pizzeria Bruciato, and he’s had to lay off about 80% of his staff.
“We want to do the right thing for the greater community and not speed the spread of the disease,” McGill said. “We also don’t want our employees to be unemployed and not have any money. We also don’t want to go bankrupt trying to operate without any sales to speak of. It’s great that Inslee made the proclamation. You know, the president said this wouldn’t hurt any small businesses in any way at all. I’m looking forward to seeing what that’s supposed to mean.”
Last year, McGill opted for a better insurance plan, that included a clause for business interruption insurance.
“There’s lots of different reasons why your business could be interrupted and you would be covered. Your power could go out, there could be an earthquake, you could have a Norovirus outbreak in your store that would cause the health department to shut you down. That’s what the ‘pathogenic disease interruption clause’ in there was pointing towards, but I don’t think they meant global pandemic. We’re putting our hopes on this rider in the insurance that says if there’s a civil authority that shuts you down and you can’t be open, like in this instance the governor says you have to close, then our business has been interrupted, it’s out of our control, and that’s why we pay all this insurance money.”
If the insurance claim does go through, what does it cover?
“From my understanding it will cover business losses and recover employee wages. Which would be fantastic because we just sent a bunch of people to the overloaded employment security department. There’s already been red tape there, it’s difficult for people to get paid quickly and it’s not a great substitution for their full income. Supposedly this would cover their wages, even lost tips. I’m really hoping that when you have the insurance, we’re not going to end up in some big, long battle to get this claim paid out.”
McGill temporarily shut down his downtown Seattle restaurants, since it’s no longer a high traffic area, but says customers on Bainbridge Island are salivating for takeout and delivery. He wants to remind people to support their favorite restaurants, if you want them to survive this.
“There’s a lot of industries that aren’t really affected by this. If you work for Amazon, Microsoft, Facebook and you can remote from the house and your life hasn’t been impacted except you’re annoyed that your kids are home with you. Instead of just storming Costco, if you had a dining out habit, just convert that into takeout sales for your local restaurants because we are your friends and neighbors.”