Resetting the table: concerns for restaurant operations in MA
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Citation (published version)Suzanne Bagnera, John Palabiyik, Brendan Cronin. 2020. "Resetting the Table: Concerns for Restaurant Operations in MA." Boston Hospitality Review, Issue Special COVID-19 Edition.
The restaurant industry in the state of Massachusetts represents, as of 2018, over 15,000 restaurants (Massachusetts Restaurant Association, n.d.). The nearly $19 billion-dollar industry was nearly brought to a complete halt of operations with the outbreak of COVID-19. While many restaurants pivoted their operations to offer take-out, curbside pick-up, and delivery services only, many operators made the difficult decision to temporarily close their restaurants. It is estimated that of the restaurants that closed, 75% would not re-open (Severson & Yaffe-Bellany, 2020). Effective June 1st, 2020 restaurants in Massachusetts were allowed to operate their establishments with outdoor seating. Then on June 22nd, 2020, the Baker Administration opened step two of phase two, which allowed for indoor dining to occur with a variety of safety measures (Safety Standards and Checklist, 2020). It is estimated that 10% of the workforce in MA is a restaurant related position. With a significant increase in the furlough’s or layoffs to the industry, the MA unemployment surged. The Boston and eastern districts of the state make up the largest volume of restaurants and employees (Massachusetts Restaurant Association, n.d.). The proper re-opening of the restaurant is going to be a key aspect to maintaining positive online reviews and repeat business. However, this new territory of reduced seating to comply with social distancing, the increased frequency of enhanced cleaning protocols, and the personal health and safety of the guests and employees along with wearing facial masks all take on a new realm of concern. These concerns are fresh on the minds of the consumers and the restaurant operators.
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