Coronavirus and North Jersey Restaurants

There’s been lots of statements coming thru from North Jersey restaurants and across the nation (Read Bon Appetit) regarding coronavirus and how they are handling the situation. As things move forward and with customers practicing social distancing, many guests are choosing to stay away from public spaces — and it appears anecdotally many restaurants are having trouble.

If you’ve been following any local restaurants the last week on social media, many have been detailing measures they’ve been taking: updating protocols on cleaning counters, tables, cooking and prep areas more often, ensuring proper food handling (as always), and making sure staff is healthy — or being sent home otherwise.

Takeout and delivery are also heavily being promoted, including plenty of online ordering. So is the use of customer phones to view menus, instead of handling printed ones at the restaurant. We’ve also heard the suggestion to help locally-owned business through the purchase of gift cards.

A quick chat to a some restaurant owners has revealed business has been down — including casual, fine dining, etc. While few have yet to make any significant closures, some are looking towards the weekend to see how they fare Friday and Saturday night. It also remains to be seen how St. Patrick’s Day dining and drinking will be affected… many bars rely on the holiday as a big sales driver this time of year.

How is it affecting new restaurants? The 130 Club in Tenafly — which opened last week — had a decent crowd Tuesday night and appears to be booked up aside from a few late reservations Saturday night. And what will be the turnout for buzzy taco spot Chofi in Union City (Read Article) when they open their doors this weekend?

One restaurant owner said it will likely “get worse before it gets better” and is hoping they won’t have to start cutting back on staffing.