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Restaurant industry fighting for survival amid pandemic

Posted at 8:58 PM, Sep 10, 2020

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — Though restaurants in Kentucky have returned to 50% capacity for in-person dining, the consequences of months of closure and limited seating have left many restaurants struggling to keep up.

“The whole restaurant success game is numbers and volume and turning tables over and over,” said Stacy Roof, the President of the Kentucky Restaurant Association.

Management for Hopcat in Lexington announced the brewery’s permanent closing Wednesday on Facebook.

Their post said in part, “We cannot say “Thank You” enough for the support you have given us the past 5 years. Thank you for welcoming us into Lexington with open arms and allowing us to bring you great food and beer, in exchange for the memories we will take with us.”

It is with a heavy heart that we confirm the rumors. We are permanently closed. We cannot say “Thank You” enough for the...

Posted by HopCat on Wednesday, September 9, 2020

“It’s projected nationally, and [Kentucky is] no exception, that most restaurants will not turn a profit this year. Or even break even,” Roof explained. “It’s projected the pandemic will us cost un 20% of our restaurants.”

Roof noted some business sectors are doing better than others. For example, fine dining restaurants that depend primarily on dine-in patrons have been hit hard, while businesses that rely on deliveries or drive-thrus are faring better.

Josanne’s Homestyle Kitchen is a restaurant in Lexington that has been serving southern food since 2019.

“When the pandemic hit it was kind of devastating. It was kind of a shock,” said owner Robert Webb.

Webb explained after the pandemic hit, the location’s drive-thru quickly became the only method of serving food for Josanne’s.

“If I didn’t have the drive-thru I would say it would be totally shut down,” he said.

Despite his sales being steady, Webb said they still made changes, like adding curbside as an option.

“We see our operators just do whatever it takes to attract customers. They’ve changed menus, changed platforms, gone contactless, and delivered when they’ve never delivered before,” Roof said.

Restaurant and other business owners are resilient and continue proving they can offer their services in creative ways, but Roof said we as customers need to step up, too.

“To see these businesses to the other side, that’s really our job,” she said. “So, buy gift cards, eat out, take out, and tip if you are able.”