Outdoor dining has helped some restaurants stay afloat during the pandemic, but they’re still grappling with losses.
About 83 percent of restaurants could not pay their full rent in July, according to NYC Hospitality Alliance.
Jimmy Rizvi is the owner of GupShup, a modern Indian restaurant in Manhattan’s Gramercy Park. His establishment went from serving 30 to 40 tables at full capacity to about nine on the street.
And there’s still no timeline for when indoor dining can return to New York City.
While outdoor dining has certainly helped, it’s also added additional expenses.
Restaurant owners are forking out money for things like contractors to build outdoor barricades and installing umbrellas for shade. And costs to make seating arrangements attractive to customers add up.
“We’re taking one day at a time. We don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow but we’re just trying to do whatever we can in getting our dining game, and ‘outdoor game,’ as I say, stronger every day,” Rizvi told NY1.
“We're thinking of creative ways to make it more appealing for guests to come and we’re always thinking of ideas,” he continued.
The city’s outdoor dining program is set to end on Oct. 31 and return on June 1, 2021, but both dates are flexible, according to the mayor’s office. Over 9,000 of the city’s 26,000 restaurants have participated in outdoor dining.
But outdoor dining is not saving the industry.
Across the country, an estimated 231,000 of the roughly 660,000 eateries will likely shut down in 2020, according to an estimate from restaurant consultancy Aaron Allen & Associates, provided to Bloomberg News.
Prior to the pandemic, restaurants accounted for nearly 4% of U.S. gross domestic product and employed about 8% of America’s labor force, according to Bloomberg.
Rizvi joined was a guest on NY1’s One New York Friday morning.