WASHINGTON — It’s the good news we’ve been waiting for, for ages! Businesses reopening and things getting back to normal.
But some things from the pandemic weren’t all bad, let’s call them "pandemic perks." Like, fine dining restaurants turning to delivery services and more stores allowing curbside and contactless pickups.
Some restaurants have decided to limit their online orders as they balance the return on in-person dining.
“Actually, now as we're opening back up we've turned off our third-party delivery services,” Jennifer Meltzer said.
Meltzer is the managing partner at All Set Restaurant and Bar and Money Muscle BBQ in downtown Silver Spring, Md. As patrons start flowing back into her restaurants, she’s doing her best to manage the in-person dining experience.
“I'm having to balance, how long our guests are going to wait in the restaurant for their food, to have a dining experience, because I can't, I can't control the flow of tickets,” Meltzer added.
Joancarlo Parkhurst of La Famosa in Navy Yard opened their business in September of 2020. He said delivery services were always a part of their business model.
“At La Famosa we are using DoorDash and Uber Eats, as well as offering just takeout directly through our website, using our point of sale system. They're a necessary business partner. I think they add a lot of value in regards to the flexibility of the consumer,” Parkhurst said.
For Total Wine, the pandemic sped up their plans.
“We actually were planning on curbside and delivery for a number of years, and what I would say when the pandemic occurred, it just hastened the implementation of both of those,” Troy Rice, COO of Total Wine.
Total Wine has allowed for contactless pickup and delivery. The Maryland-based company said all you wine drinkers don’t have to worry about these services going away.
“Actually, curbside has become our number one, digital channel. We plan on continuing to use curbside and delivery going forward,” Rice added.
Businesses are finding themselves in a constant state of transition with each county and state being in different phases of reopening, and then considering the new customers they’ve gotten over the last year.
Restaurants noted that with the ongoing staffing issues they’re facing, they're not able to handle the dinner rushes and online orders. One thing is for certain, it seems people are ready to head back out to eat after a year of cooking every meal at home.