Coronavirus’ devastating impact on the restaurant industry


GROVETOWN, Ga. (WJBF) — So far, the restaurant industry has sustained one of the heaviest blows due to the coronavirus. All restaurants have resorted to take-out or delivery options in hopes of keeping business going. Some business owners are concerned about the impact, as many Americans are trying to void public places to curb the spread.

“The industry should be blessed because we can stay open,” explained Five Guys General Manager Donna Rigdon. “Whereas, some of the other restaurants that have sit-down-seating and don’t have take-out options, they have to close.”

People who work in the restaurant industry are in a stressful situation. In places where you would usually see a crowd for lunch or dinner, are now pretty much empty.
Rigdon says she has seen a dip in business.

“As long as we can still provide excellent and safe service to our customers, we’re going to be here,” said Rigdon. “We are not lying down; we’re going to continue to clean and put out a good product.”

Many restaurants want folks to know they are still open. Rigdon says word of mouth of how she is keeping the store clean, is drawing in customers.

“Now that we have closed our lobbies, restrooms, and patio, we are getting people coming in because we are clean,” explained Rigdon. “Even though there is now in here dining, we are cleaning every 15 minutes.”

This side of Columbia County is growing with new businesses being built. However, restaurants, including “Shane’s Rib Shack,” are experiencing a significant decrease in foot traffic. Five Guys’ general manager fears how they’re going to pay their employees if the pandemic prolongs.

“We’re working together in this little shopping center here,” said Rigdon. “If they can do anything for us, it’s vice-versa. We are getting ideas on other aspects of things. It’s working well.”

While the restaurant industry waits for things to return to normal, the best thing the managers say they can do is to stick together in these times of uncertainty.

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