Should You Open A Restaurant During the Pandemic?

With the COVID-19 pandemic forcing many restaurants to restrict service, or in some cases, close their doors forever, it may seem like an odd move for new restaurants to debut in these uncharted waters.  But publications like Grub Street are reporting that some new restaurants are set to open in September. While it may not seem like an obvious choice, there are a variety of reasons opening a new location right now can still be a good idea.

Location, Location, Location

A good location can make or break a business, but some restaurateurs can wait a long time for the perfect location to open up. With the pandemic closing so many businesses, that wait may be a lot shorter than anticipated. That’s one of the reasons why Emmett Burke of New York’s Emmett’s decided now was the time to open up his second location; the real estate he was eyeing became available when the previous business closed. 

If you’re considering opening a restaurant, keep a lookout for real estate in your desired area. You may be able to move into a newly vacated location at a lower than expected rent, especially if the landlord is looking to fill the space quickly.

Longtime Plans

Many restaurants are planning on opening this fall because they were already slated to open prior to the pandemic, and restaurateurs would rather take the risk and open with restrictions than to wait indefinitely for the pandemic to end.

Some restaurants have also managed to be successful despite social distancing mandates and takeout operations and feel confident that they can replicate that success with their new venture.

Should you still open despite current conditions? Only your budget can answer that question, but if you have a solid plan in place for distancing customers and offering takeout, you have a shot at success!

Pop-up Popularity

Many pop-up restaurants around the country have been met with success since the pandemic hit thanks to their takeout only business model. Some are shifting from food truck or food cart services to bricks and mortar locations. Whether by sharing an existing space or opening your own location, if the demand for your food is exceeding your current capacity, now may be the perfect time to consider expanding.

Looking Ahead

If you are considering opening a new restaurant, don’t discount the idea of opening now. As these restaurants are proving, you can still open during the pandemic if you have the right mix of marketing, social distancing, and dining options.