Future of dining out in question because of COVID-19

Owners and chefs said the restaurant industry needs a massive rescue effort in order to survive the pandemic.
8:09 | 05/14/20

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Transcript for Future of dining out in question because of COVID-19
Now to the issue of going out seeing so many are itching to do it but will it ever be the same that's a question that many restaurant owners are grappling with the state start to reopen. We seem being crowds at a few places so far but most small restaurants across the country. Are really struggling according to a recent survey the average independent restaurant only has enough cash on hand to cover two weeks of expenses. So we're an industry that employs more than fifteen and a half million people go from here. Cano with birth has the story. Sliding into a Booth bullying up at the bar sharing a meal and a laugh with friends. Had a weird it's almost like opening day finally cities across the country allowing restaurant owners to open their doors. Of course in limited capacity and with the newest menu item. Social distancing. We're just glad to be back want to welcome everybody back and hopefully we're gonna you now get back to finalize the new normal that some sort of a normal. Some customers flocked to their favorite haunts LO Arroyo in Austin, Texas so overwhelmed with customers wine to drink they're famous and margaritas on the patio. They actually made the decision to close unseat a demy you know after opening just four days earlier. Every year are overwhelmingly busy we just thought you know three weeks you know. Really aren't as we decided to everybody I just have acted to go only that day again. And her revenue of course but it is. We thought it was worthwhile. The restaurant. Upping the number of locally famous and hilarious signposts as well. So depressing reality people's lives we started artistic try to keep people. Doing something to smile about the independent restaurant coalition is calling the situation across the country dire. And industry experts say limited openings with half capacity. Won't be enough to save the industry. Hardy was saying we cat Cora these first female Iron Chef and owner of eighteen restaurants. Isn't sure things will never quite the same out. And I think it's at least the year not longer get you some kind of new normal restaurant is going to look there are out. A recent survey estimates that restaurants have only a 30%. Chance of staying open long term if the cove in nineteen pandemic last four months. That's the lowest odds of survival for any industry. Back those who have remained in business like Elizabeth Lyle of honey salt in Las Vegas. Have revamped their operations creating travel easy meals delivery and pick up operations. It's a fraction of our our normal restaurant yet revenue and they'll be cars lined up out front to to pick up their branches but. It's really sad to see that shares piled up and the tables pulled away and and knowing dining no one bellied up to to the bar you're the I have your at all her I was saying it feels cellphones strains. To stand there. Everybody was still just trying to figure out what was gonna happen and I must. Pitted and you started. Go margaritas and delivery margaritas and we ended up doing massive volume we're able to rehire employees at Reuters we're really lucky to be unfortunately. But for most restaurant owners they are lucky just to keep some of their staff important. A recent James Beard study saying on average. Restaurants have laid off 91%. Of their hourly workforce and 70%. Of salary employees. Michael Shelton who owns seven Philadelphia area restaurants had to let go nearly all of his employees. We really unfortunately it has the way everybody off we have 16100 employees but we decided that my partner and I had met my wife we. We were going the restaurant wants a weakened. We were treated like a grocery store. All our staff members and they commented just pick up food we were given to sedate the get through this. This crisis. Governors allowing restaurants to open in several states across the country but with their limited capacity rules owners are still facing a dilemma. Fewer customers buying food from a restaurant. That has the same operating costs she'll sing is among several restaurant owners who say that business model simply doesn't work. Talking what 30% occupancy. Delivery. Six feet or parts. All of those things don't work for rest. If you. Going back model. You still have employees society. You have utilities your brain you have garbage your who caught Joseph quicker because you have all these expenditures of a restaurant but your probably gonna do 70% less in sets. Danny now won't really be a part of American culture again until customers feel safe. But winning. Is a big question for restaurants fleas especially in hard hit New York where about 80% of restaurant and bar workers have been laid off. Chef Tom Kelly Keogh whose hospitality group runs multiple upscale New York restaurant says. You'll follow the customers lead on reopening the senate. Especially when we always questioned when when the dining public and publicly called Dona. Look crowding our semi crowd states. I'd guess. I would not take my family out to wrestle. Com and I got us Milwaukee or on. In Italy the European country hit by the pandemic many diners expected to enjoy their meals and a Plexiglas partition. This restaurant in Seoul South Korea has two screens separating each table and customers are asked to sanitize their hands upon entry. And some reopen restaurants in China now require a temperature checks at the door full body sanitation or. These robots rather than waiters to serve food. Percy hats aren't a lot of dignity. I think people in the coming up all I'm seeing paint it's gonna be it's easy to see people where. Throughout this process he may die he puts it to create this new normal. Some owners say it's simply not safe to open their doors yet. Kevin and tune of southern Chris brewing in Nashville says despite his commitment to keeping the staff and customers protected. They can't provide that testing the state requests. It seems to me like your government officials. Are asking you to do something by not providing you the resources to. Yeah they're they're asking us to be safe and tests are employees and didn't just like the other her donors and a speech on a weekly basis no one knows where to get. He's test. He has managed to keep a 100% of his staff employed partly because of a temporary amendment to distribution lines allowing customers to get beer delivered or pick it up curbside. That amendment expires may 31. And that's whoever had a big problem we're still. We will not good dollars in margin if or human lives health. It doesn't matter how seller down that we're putting the public areas in the NB will not be that we will shut down before you. An industry that has more than a million operations across the country is now in need of a bail out. Nearly 70% of restaurant owners say they meet a cash infusion of 50000. Dollars just to make it another month. The independent restaurant coalition was formed to help the eleven million people employed by approximately 500000. Local restaurants affected by the Kron a virus crisis. They currently have a stimulus bill in front of congress one of the founders of that organization is chef Tom Cooley Keogh. He says this isn't just about helping owners like candy it's about the little guys the lifeblood of communities across the country. You know to look at it restaurants especially small and restaurants and there are usually release are based in an attached to each year in thinking about where you celebrate birthdays and anniversaries loom Collins milestones you go to their vision yes we need an error. We'd actually they are you Arnie and we need these moves its core institutions community centers there so he's along this. It's been makes. Hi a half what we can put that dish. On a table and in front of aghast that night also confident that that things are going to be okay.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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