Mad dash for Mother’s Day restaurant reservations as an industry rebounds

Business

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Local restaurants are preparing for increased reservations before Mother’s Day, as many anticipate safe returns to normal operations.

After pandemic lockdown measures prevented people from dining out this time last year, restaurant owners and general managers are excited to welcome patrons back to dining rooms and patios.

Paul Kincaid is General Manager and co-owner at Can Can Brasserie in Carytown, where tables are spread apart at least six feet from one another. Kincaid says he has seen the urge, and adjustment families have to eat out after a year shut in.

“Every week we see people are very clearly coming out for the first time before the pandemic,” he said Thursday.

Brunch, lunch and dinner menus are ready for mom, even with 50% less staff than before the pandemic.

“At our limited capacity that’s about what we need. We’re adding more teammates now,” he added.

At Tarrant’s Cafe in downtown Richmond, General Manager Joe Young says the advanced weekend bookings are a “good problem” to have.

“People know that they’re in for a good money weekend, so no one wants to give up a shift,” he said.

Restaurants who survived shuttered kitchens remain on the rebound thanks to stimulus safeguards, and the potential for capacity restrictions to end June 15 in Virginia, which Governor Northam floated Thursday.

The move would be the closest opportunity for an industry once plagued with overwhelming sales scars, to return to ‘normal.’ Young and Kincaid expressed anticipation, and caution.

Young said he is excited, but “super concerned” how the rollout of potential vaccine ‘passports’ may allow or prevent people from dining without social distancing.

“…someone’s like, ‘oh, I’ve been vaccinated, I don’t know if this person behind me has been vaccinated,” Young surmised about a potential scenario between customers.

Governor Northam said vaccine ‘passports’ are “on the table,” as a condition for entry in certain places, though a decision has not been made.

“It will be an adjustment but it mostly means that it’s safe to do so and everything’s headed in the right direction, that’s for sure,” Kincaid said.

Whether Eggs Benedict at brunch or a savory salmon at dinner are for you, don’t forget to bring those masks—restaurants require that they are worn when not seated.

Oh, and bring those tips, too.

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