DELAWARE- For many restaurants in Delaware’s beach towns, the coronavirus pandemic has taken a huge toll, and things likely aren’t going to get any better as the off season approaches.
“It’s important to note that over 81% of our Delaware restaurant operators still estimate that they will be operating at a loss in the next six months,” Carrie Leishman, CEO and President of the Delaware Restaurant Association, said.
Crooked Hammock Brewery in Rehoboth Beach said sales are down 50% compared to this time last year and they only expect those numbers to get worse. “We are anticipating that our numbers are still going to be dramatically down from years past and us being a seasonal business this is always the hardest time of year,” Rich Garrahan, owner of Crooked Hammock Brewery, said. Meanwhile in Bethany Beach, Mango’s said they’re seeing their usual drop in business as they head into the off season, but they say right now staffing is a huge issue they’re trying to get a grip on.
“We are so short staffed right now, I mean if there’s one message that any restaurant probably begging to put out there right now if you’re looking for work restaurants are safe,” Alex Heidenberger, a partner for Mango’s, said. Because things are so unpredictable, businesses like Crooked Hammock said if they need to make changes they will.
“We are planning on being as creative as we can and adapting to what we comes our way in the Fall, whether it’s changing the lay out of the space, changing the business model based on what’s allowed based on how the virus is acting,” Garrahan said. And while the uncertainty may lead to some businesses closing their doors, we are told it’s important to support one another in the coming months. “You’re gonna see a lot of places go out of business and while that’s devastating we’re doing all we can in town here to make sure that other businesses know about grant programs,” Heidenberger said.
Both Mango’s and Crooked Hammock Brewery said they can’t wait until people can sit down at their bars for service. They hope it will help with business. The CEO of the Delaware Restaurant Association said that they estimate 20% of restaurants could go out of business if they don’t prepare for the slower off season.
The Restaurant Association is now encouraging locals to help out their restaurants in any way they can in the months to come.