Even fine dining restaurants are struggling with the coronavirus pandemic. No longer able to charge a premium for ambiance or service, even upscale restauranteurs are offering takeout and joining delivery apps this month.
Better to survive than perish? Upscale restaurant chain Vapiano with six U.S. locations filed for bankruptcy this month. Across the country, the National Restaurant Association expects the industry to lose revenues exceeding $225 billion by this summer. The trade association forecasts at least 5 million temporary job terminations.
Consider the following developments from Las Vegas, home to the highest number of Michelin star restaurants per capita of any U.S. city:
Coping with the pandemic is possible, even for fine dining. Restaurants that can prove compliance with CDC guidance when preparing meals — sanitizing surfaces regularly, washing hands, social distancing, avoiding cash payments, and ensuring that sick employees do not work — are generally allowed to create accounts with food delivery services like GrubHub, DoorDash, Seamless, UberEats and Postmates.
Bakeries and caterers with stocked pantries are selling extra flour, yeast and other hard-to-find consumer staples to the public. High-end gastropubs are now delivering pizzas on newly created UberEats and DoorDash accounts.
“Electric bill will be due and food will spoil,” says restaurant owner Scott Keys. “10 years of fighting tooth and nail will end with a whimper. It’s so sad.”
Some Michelin star restaurants are taking the current opportunity to offer delivery services for the first time, including the following highest rated locations:
These additional Michelin starred restaurants have joined the delivery and takeout movements:
“The risk is contact with the respiratory droplets of other people,” reminds the Salt Lake County Health Department. “Dine-in service is prohibited, but takeout is not. It’s not the food or the environment, but the gathering of people.” Utah Governor Gary Herbert has encouraged delivery and takeout as a way to support local restaurants, as long as customers maintain a 6-foot distance from anyone while accepting their takeout order. Most major delivery services have defaulted to a contactless, “leave at door” option for food deliveries.