Restaurants excited to re-open as part of Phase Three of Saskatchewan’s Re-Open plan

Restaurants will be able to open at 50% capacity as part of Phase Three of the Re-Open Saskatchewan plan starting June 8th, and that’s positive news for the Saskatchewan Hotel Hospitality Association.

President and CEO Jim Bence says this will help restaurants recuperate after COVID-19 forced them to close their doors from in-house food service in March.

Bence said this gives restaurants over two weeks to prepare.

“We have been waiting for a hard start date so that we can really get going on plans that we have with regards to re-opening, re-staffing and restocking, so this is great news for us.”

Bence said the 50% figure was expected, but will still prove to be tough for restaurants to swallow.

“We do most of our business typically Friday and Saturday nights, and so if throughout the rest of the week we’re only running at 25% or maybe 30%, that makes it, with the margins that we have in this industry, really tough to make a go of it.”

Bence said despite take-out and delivery services, restaurants have struggled during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“On the take-out side of the equation, there has been no money really made in that, it’s tough to produce the food, and once you pay for the food to get delivered, that margin that’s already thin gets thinner at that point,” Bence said. “The in-dining experience, really that’s where you’re able to make some money on that.”

Protecting servers and customers will be a priority for restaurants according to Bence, who also says table cleaning and set up may look a bit different when people return to their favourite places to eat.

As for hotels, Bence says the two sides of their business have changed dramatically. In the case of corporate business, Bence says it may be impacted forever and would leave a massive hole for leisure travel to fill.

More from 620 CKRM