Local restaurants weigh costs of staying open with pandemic restrictions in place

Lucky You Loung
Copyright 4 News Now

SPOKANE, Wash. — Restaurants have been hurting for months due to pandemic restrictions, but operations are getting even tighter now that in-person dining has been shut down for a second time.

Local eateries are once again having to lay off staff members, revert to takeout-only options and find creative ways to keep operations going.

On Wednesday, Lucky You Lounge announced they would end their takeout services after this upcoming weekend, saying they will cut their losses and clear out their stock.

“It didn’t take long for us to realize that takeout only is not going to work. We are going to sell AS MUCH FOOD AND DRINK to you over the next 4 days and then cut our losses and hope we can make it to a brighter day,” the restaurant said in an Instagram post. 

After the announcement, orders started rolling in; 70 orders in two hours to be exact.

And while the support was overwhelming, the team at Lucky You said it is simply not affordable to keep it going and they still plan to end takeout services next week.

Earlier on in the pandemic, local chef Chad White expressed similar sentiments, saying takeout just covers basic costs and even though they are selling out of food, profits are down significantly.

RELATED: ‘It’s really not what it seems:’ Restaurants say takeout sales aren’t helping their bottom lines

Ruins, another locally-owned restaurant, got blunt in an Instagram post Wednesday, expressing their disappointment in long lines at this week’s Chick-fil-A grand opening while local restaurants are barely scraping by.

Fast food chains, specifically those with drive-thru options, are seeing growing profits during the pandemic. While people waited hours to order from the new Chick-fil-A, Ruins sold six burritos.

“It’s unsustainable. We just had to lay everyone off again to try to stem the bleed-out and have had to rethink how, when and whether we can afford to do takeout with just the owners working,” the restaurant posted. “Maybe we’re not offering enough but we have to keep the menu small to make the numbers work and we have to offer things one person can prepare and package and serve for takeout. In order to buy ingredients we have to sell food. In order to keep the lights and the water and the gas on, we have to sell food. We have to spend more on bags and boxes and wrappers and other containers for to-go items. A lot of businesses are facing the brick-wall reality.”

The latest round of restrictions are set to expire on December 14, but that is up in the air due to rising case numbers and the fear that it will only get worse following the recent Thanksgiving holiday, where many people gathered despite pleas not to.

RELATED: Washington’s new COVID restrictions now in place

READ: Five local chicken sandwiches that rival newly-opened Chick-fil-A