LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Restaurants and bars are scrambling to launch their backup plans ahead of another round of state-wide restrictions, and the timing is terrible for and industry already starving for business.
Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear announced Wednesday that restaurants and bars would be required to halt indoor service starting at 5 p.m. Friday. To-go, delivery and outdoor dining options are still on the table. The restrictions will run through Dec. 13.
Traditionally, restaurants and bars get a welcome boost through the holiday season. Customers are in a more giving mood and likely to tip better, college students are home on break, and families come in from out of town.
The president and CEO of the Kentucky Restaurant Association, Stacy Roof, said she is frustrated with how the governor handled these new restrictions and is concerned it will take a big bite out of already dwindling profits.
“Who knows if it’s really three weekends," Roof said. "Will that be extended? And I think that’s their fear. That’s my fear."
Some restaurant and bars owners saw the writing on the wall and started working on backup plans ahead of Wednesday’s announcement. Walker’s Exchange, inside the Galt House Hotel, will be launching its Thanksgiving to-go meal. The meal serves a family of four and comes with turkey, gravy, cranberry jelly, a heaping list of traditional sides and a whole pie or cake for $150. There are also options for baked ham or roast beef.
“Celebrating Thanksgiving to-go was a natural pivot for us,” said Skip James, vice president of sales and marketing for AJS Hotels. “And I’ll let you in on a little secret: We’re providing a bottle of wine as a thank you for everybody that makes the order with us this year.”
To place an order, call 502-566-3242. The orders can be picked up curbside at the Galt House on Thanksgiving Day.
Bars are also having to pivot and adjust all over again, especially since to-go or delivery options are trickier. Spencer Guy, the head brewer of the recently opened Atrium Brewing, said he was expecting Beshear to further limit capacity, but he didn’t see a full shutdown coming.
"Well, once we heard we were shut down, it was, ‘Oh, here we go again,’" Guy said. "Your mind quickly pivots to what do we need to do to keep income and revenue coming in. People still want to drink beer, especially when they're stuck at home. They want to drink even more beer."
The patio will remain open, and the food truck will still serve customers outside. Guy said over the last week, customer numbers were already starting to slowly dwindle inside. So the team started planning to can and sell more beer instead of rely on taproom sales.
"We were gearing up for Thanksgiving week," Guy said. "We had three brand new cans that we were releasing on Monday. So people could come get their beers and take them to Thanksgiving."
Now, since they’ll lose the walk-in crowd for the holiday week, they’re speeding up the plans a bit.
"So our plan is we're going to be opening up our online store for the first time," Guy said. "And we're going to package more beer that we've been doing. We've been doing can releases of everything. We're just upping those numbers."
Starting Friday, Atrium will launch online sales with curbside pickup. Click here to browse or make a purchase.
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