Written by James Creange.
Photo by Kelcey Harris.
We’re going to do things a little bit differently this month. Instead of taking questions from readers, I wrote out questions for Chef Jon Bonnell to take a look at the current state of the restaurant industry and how we, as consumers, can help keep it afloat. I will share below Chef’s answers as well as a Facebook post that he shared this past week urging Fort Worth residents to still consider placing to-go orders from restaurants.
FWFS: How is the coronavirus affecting the Fort Worth restaurant industry not just in the short term but in the long term?
Jon Bonnell: The entire restaurant industry has been decimated. More than half of the local independent restaurants will close completely. Some will try to keep going with curbside service, but the future is unclear as to how that might work. Starting tonight, there will not be a single waiter/waitress, bartender, host/hostess, or wine steward in the metroplex. Our entire industry just no longer exists.
FWFS: What steps are you taking to ensure that your restaurants are safe and clean as Fort Worth transitions to take out orders only?
JB: We are continuing to sanitize every surface, every 30 minutes. Our pickup curbside orders will be done contact-free, loaded into cars, and credit card swipes will be done without touching.
FWFS: How can consumers help their favorite local restaurants during this time?
JB: Whoever is left open, keep buy when you can.
FWFS: Will you be offering any kind of delivery services?
JB: We utilize Favor and other delivery options for our Buffalo Bros restaurants and will continue to do so.
FWFS: Do you have any guesses as to when things will get back to “normal” for the industry?
JB: No one really knows that magic answer. If I had to guess, hopefully for August. It will be very difficult to financially start places back up again after this long with no real sales to speak of. Without beverage sales, profits will be very difficult to generate.