SALT LAKE CITY — Are you itching to order from a menu and dine at a restaurant table — and finally tip a server who could really use the money right now?
Melva Sine of the Utah Restaurant Association joined Debbie Dujanovic and Dave Noriega to explain how the restaurant business is setting the table for the return of diners.
“What’s going on behind the scenes? Are there any signs that they’re working to reopen restaurants?” Debbie asked.
“There are discussions at the legislative level on how to get our economy moving. One of the surest ways to get our unemployment rates down is to open our restaurants,” Sine said.
“We have already added enhanced safety measures as far as sanitizing for the consumer and the employee. Taking temperatures of our employees,” she said.
Reopening on the horizon?
“How soon do you anticipate reopening for dine-in customers?” Dave asked.
Sine said the association provided to the Legislature about a week and a half ago a contingency plan to make sure all operations within dining rooms would be safe.
“Before this all happened, we were serving 2 million meals a day,” she said. “And the concern wasn’t safety; the concern was, where can I get the meal I want to enjoy? Who accommodates me in a friendly manner? Safety has never been an issue in the restaurant business,” Sine said.
“Give us a peek into what restaurants 2.0 will look like once restaurants can start serving dine-in customers?” Debbie asked.
“For the restaurant industry, we’re not expecting a huge amounts of people,” Sine said. “We’re praying there will be lots of people who are anxious to get outside.”
She said by following the six-foot distancing guidelines, restaurants will be able to handle about 50 percent of the business they were doing before the crisis.
“So it will look a little different, but it’ll still be great food. It’ll be a great experience,” Sine said. “Restaurants are the cornerstone of our communities. Opening them back up is a clear sign that we’re on the road to recovery.”
What is your can’t-wait restaurant?
Debbie asked Dave what’s the first restaurant you will return to after the pandemic is finally gone.
“I’m a little hesitant to say it because I don’t want people to flocking to my place. This is MY spot,” Dave said. “Orlando’s. In Kaysville. It is my go-to spot. Is this why I didn’t want to tell you, Deb? Amazing chips and salsa,” he said.
“I’m already there,” said Debbie.
“You’re going to want to order the honey-lime chicken flautas,” Dave said.
“I’m writing this down,” said Debbie.