A version of this article appeared on 11/24/20 in Eat.news, a free weekly newsletter from Back of House with news, resources, and more curated by our team. It goes out to thousands of restaurant operators each Tuesday morning. Subscribe today to get our coverage of the restaurant technology space directly to your inbox!
The Industry Appetizer
A quick snack on some headlines that caught our editors' eyes this week.
With no aid from feds, DC attempts restaurant rescue: In a push to help save Washington, D.C.'s hospitality industry, Mayor Muriel Bowser announced a $100M "Bridge Fund" -- with a whopping $35M of that dedicated specifically to area restaurants. The breakdown will provide upwards of 700 restaurants around $10,000-$50,000 each. Other cities, including Chicago, have made similar move in recent weeks, as have several tech firms that rely on restaurants. At this point, any restaurant relief from the federal government is still a ways away, and putting restaurants in a "no-win" situation. (Restaurant Dive / DCist / Restaurant Business)
Meyer stops on-site dining as LA locks down: With COVID-19 cases continuing to rise in NYC, Danny Meyer's Union Square Hospitality Group has discontinued all on-site dining. They will, however, be amping up takeout and delivery as well as nationwide shipping. Meanwhile, on the West Coast, Los Angeles County will close all outdoor dining. (Restaurant Hospitality / Eater)
Designing with distance: Eight months into the pandemic, Restaurant Dive took a long look at the design trends literally reshaping restaurant spaces across the country, from operable walls, to outdoor decks, to more integrated online/offline experiences. Worth checking out! (Restaurant Dive)
The restaurant software, hardware, and solutions stories we've been chewing on lately.
+ Washington State, City of Chicago cap fees at 15%: The Evergreen State is the first state to officially place a cap on fees charged to restaurants by third-party delivery companies. Applicable only to restaurants where indoor dining has yet to return to 50% capacity, the new guidelines state the order total can not exceed a 15% fee, nor can total fees and commissions be higher than 18%. Meanwhile, in Chicago, City Council on Monday approved a 15% cap of its own on 3DP marketing fees, matching similar limits in NYC and San Francisco. (Restaurant Business / Eater)
+ Ghost kitchen concerns: With ghost/virtual kitchens having an undeniable moment during the coronavirus pandemic, opinions are flying on how much room exists for these concepts to grow—and whether they're a net positive for the restaurant business as constituted. "They're going to cut down the vibrancy" of Main Street, one mayor lamented recently. (Food on Demand / Restaurant Business)
+ Delivery, digital boom: According to market research, digital sales will continue to dominate the quick-service business well until 2025, almost a 70% increase over pre-COVID estimates. Delivery is expected to grow to 23% in 2025 while curbside will see a five-fold increase, growing from 15% to 71% during the pandemic. Wowza. (Restaurant Dive)
Resources for restaurant operators, created and curated by our team.
Ghost kitchen pros & cons: A reported 51% of restaurants have looked to leverage the ghost kitchen model to expand capacity and off-premise offerings during the coronavirus pandemic. Are ghost kitchens the right next step for your restaurant? Check out these pros and cons. (Back of House)
COVID-19 relief tracker: Federal aid for restaurants is still a possibility, but how likely is it to happen? And when? We broke down the key facts you need to know about the status of pandemic relief measures in Congress. (Back of House)
Updated COVID closures: Speaking of tracking, another week brought with it lots of changes in states' dining guidelines. Get the most up-to-date information on our latest state-by-state updates here. (Back of House)
[Photo: Pixabay via Pixels]