In the “before times” before the pandemic, you wouldn’t be able to order cocktails to-go, nor would you see outdoor dining extended into the street, but these restaurant survival techniques are here to stay… at least until the end of the year.
For many restaurants, the ability to expand outdoor dining was the only way to survive the pandemic. Governor Gavin Newsom announced Thursday, the sidewalk and street dining areas are here to stay.
“We are trying to take something that worked during the pandemic and allow the flexibility, not mandate anything but allowing the flexibility for cities large and small to consider the opportunity to continue,” Newsom said.
Glenn Hoiby is the senior manager of Mercado restaurant in Pasadena, which not only expanded its outdoor dining area, but also took advantage of the pandemic relaxed rules allowing restaurants to sell alcohol to-go.
“Some guests aren’t ready to go inside, and we understand that. Others are embracing outdoor dining more than ever, so it’s something to consider, and it’s a great opportunity for restaurants,” Hoiby said.
“Having to-go cocktails is a great value because it’s less expensive than in a restaurant, it’s another revenue stream, so it’s a win-win for everyone.”
That win-win will also continue through the end of the calendar year. A big boost for restaurants which see their biggest profit margins in alcohol sales.
“I think it’s important you have to purchase food to-go along with the alcohol to keep things in check,” Hoiby added.
The Governor says permits for expanded outdoor dining areas and relaxed regulations for cocktails to-go are all part of new legislation winding its way through Sacramento. Since the legislative process can take a while, Newsom decided to keep the popular dining options going until they can either be approved or denied with new laws.
“I’m very excited, this is a great opportunity for restaurants to recover the last 15 months,” Hoiby said.
The Governor says zoning and planning issues are still up to local governments, but he adds he’s hearing from Mayors across the state asking to make this type of dining permanent.
Source: NBC Los Angeles