Restaurant owners reinvent their business to help in the wake of COVID-19

Recently, we shared a video about a family and their unique restaurant, where employees are treasured and their dreams fostered. Today, we’re sharing a story from Food and Wine Magazine about the same restaurant and how they’re keeping these employees working but pivoting their business.

In its 70-year history, Seattle fine-dining restaurant Canlis has closed twice: once after JFK’s death, and another after a major traffic accident. Starting Monday, March 16, it’ll close for a third time. Sort of.

The James Beard Award-winning restaurant is shuttering its dining room amid the spread of COVID-19, but pivoting to three other concepts: a takeaway bagel shop in the mornings, a drive-up burger place in the afternoons, and for dinner, delivery or dine in a yurt!

“We saw a huge decline in business. Maybe up to 40 percent or 50 percent of our business just called to cancel,” owner Mark Canlis tells Food & Wine. Google, Starbucks, and Amazon – all with offices in Seattle – instituted travel bans, meaning that out-of-town execs were no longer wine-ing and dining. Comic Con, slated for March 12 through 15, was postponed. No more business conventions either: hundreds of thousands of would-be visitors to the city, gone.

It was clear that this wasn’t sustainable for Canlis. Something had to change.

More and more, that’s what chefs across the country are coming to terms with. Even if they take above-and-beyond precautions in the light of coronavirus, it’s appearing that business simply can’t run as usual – if at all.

Read the full story at Food and Wine.


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