Our Restaurants Want To Know What You Think…

Restaurant Survey Boulder City, Nevada

Oh don’t you just want to go to dinner? And support our local dining establishments while getting to interact in a normal way again? We all do.

We know that soon – hopefully very soon – our local eateries are going to open back up again. It won’t be the same, that’s for sure. But in talking to my friends and also some of our fabulous restaurant owners here in town, there’s this question – what WILL make diners feel safe again?

That’s where you can help – truly think about this question. Each of you will be different, but giving some concrete and thoughtful feedback would be really valuable to our local restaurant owners. (Please do so on the social media feed.)

What is clear, is that some people are unafraid of the current situation, while others remain anywhere between feeling completely not ready to venture out, and others are interested….they want to…but still feel unsure.

We reached out to a number of our local restaurants with a questionnaire to ask them specifically what they’ve learned in the past 45 days, and what plans they are making now to help diners feel safe about coming back through their doors. We’ve compiled their answers below.

What enhanced sanitary measures and safety protocols are you putting in place to help protect both your employees and patrons?

All of the restaurants we spoke to will maintain their curbside/carry out/drive through/delivery business – whatever they currently offer they will continue with.

What they all emphasize is that they will be strictly adhering to all Gov. guidelines. Capacity will be adjusted to accommodate the distanced seating requirements. All mention hand sanitizer stations in multiple areas, and a few are installing plexi-glass to protect the ordering or checkout counter experience, where applicable.

Touch-points are being actively minimized wherever possible, be it menus, condiments (single use, as opposed to bottles and shakers), disposable silverware and the checkout/order process.

A few restaurants are temperature-testing employees (Chilly Jilly’z and Southwest Diner) and are talking about possibly testing patrons quickly upon entry. All talk about masks and gloves being worn by staff and commit to that for as long as required.

Also, they all say they have used the time to be certain that their entire restaurants have been cleaned and disinfected top to bottom, many repainted, and some even remodeling during this time. All say they will disinfect any seating and dining areas in between guests.

What have you learned from your current curbside/carryout or delivery business that you think may help you moving forward?

“It has been an interesting ride. Sangria and wine to go has saved us and kept the doors open. Thanks to all Milo’s customers for their support thru these times. We have been able to keep about 50% of the staff because of all of you.”
~Milo Hurst, Milo’s Cellar

“Our loyal guests enjoy our take out and delivery so we will continue to use Grubhub and deliver ourselves.”
~Daniel Topchi, Toto’s Mexican Restaurant

“There may be a portion of our customers who are more comfortable with these options as opposed to dining in, so we will continue to offer all three.”
~Todd Cook, Boulder Dam Brewing

“We’ve had to adjust to our “new normal” by thinking outside the box and finding new strategies to serve our customers. These strategies will be beneficial to our business moving forward.”
~Kelly Fox, Fox Smokehouse BBQ

What about their staffs? What about any of the promised aid from the SBA or the Cares Act?

All but one of the restaurants we have talked to have had to layoff at least part of their staff, and some, such as Southwest Diner who stayed open for a while and then decided to close, had to lay off all of their workers, and closed only as their unemployment kicked in.

Of all the owners we spoke to in creating this survey, none of them have received any financial aid of any kind, despite applying for it.

“Understand that while many Nevadans are staying home, some receiving money from the government, restaurateurs are working hard yet still falling behind and losing their businesses.
~Todd Cook, Boulder Dam Brewing

Authors Note: By the way – you know what’s happened to our grocery bill? Well imagine these restaurants’ food bills and dealing with a supply chain gone mad. Their costs of goods has increased substantially, all their bills are still owed, and no matter what, their business is a fraction of what it was before. And those food prices aren’t going to drop anytime soon from what we read.

What new ideas are you working on to entice customers back through your doors?

There are a variety of responses here; some feel they will need little encouragement to their faithful followers. Others mention weekly specials, increasing their engagement via social media and delivery services like Grubhub and others. Some will have an easier time adapting to the new seating restrictions than others:

“Due to our large dining room we should be able to seat at about 60% capacity with social distancing guidelines pending.”
~Daniel Topchi, Toto’s Mexican Restaurant

“We are remodeling the interior and doing a deep clean from front to back. The reduction of tables out front will be offset by adding candle lite evening dining in the cellar and back courtyard. We are looking into grilling steaks and salmon for the evening dining experience.”
~Milo Hurst, Milo’s Cellars

“We have always tried to maintain a reasonable distance between the tables for the comfort of the customers…We are definitely blessed in the fact that we have ample seating both inside and outside at Jilly’z, and The Patio is already outside with very large tables. I think outside seating will be very comforting for people as they won’t feel so confined or close to others when they start to emerge from quarantine.”
~Jill Quatrale, Chilly Jilly’z

What do you see for the year ahead?

“I really believe when the United States is down and out people that believe in America’s way of life and want to help their fellow man come out of the woodwork. When I was doing free lunches people gave about $800 in monetary donations to help feed the kids during these hard times. We got calls from customers and other businesses saying, “anything you need please call them.” That’s awesome! That’s America! My hope and prayer is that people keep doing good, helping their neighbors, and social distancing of course.”
~Cindy Ford, Southwest Diner

“I see a resilient United States getting back to business and creating an economic rebound that will make everyone forget about this whole lockdown. My customers, friends and the BC community have been amazing. I am truly fortunate to be surrounded by such incredible people.”
~Grant Turner, The Tap, Dillinger, Forge Social House

“We will have a beautiful new street, with great businesses that are here to service the needs of the towns people, and tourists that come from around the world. We still live in one of the best towns in America, and Boulder City is a very resilient town. Albeit, adverse to change, but this time, I do believe the change will be beneficial for all, and our town will continue to be a destination and wonderful place for all to live, and or visit.”
~Jill Quatrale, Chilly Jilly’z

“We’ve learned of the amazing resiliency of our BBQ family in going the extra mile to make sure our business survives. With a decrease of employees and the faster pace of drive-thru business, they have pulled together to work longer hours and more grueling days. These people are loyal, caring and amazing and we can’t thank them enough!”
~Kelly Fox, Fox Smokehouse BBQ

Are there ways the community and your patrons can support you – beyond of course – dining with you?

We’re all weathering this same storm, but we’re not all in the same boat (how’s that for a little Facebook wisdom for ya?). For those who are in their own financial crisis, dining out of any sort is a luxury currently beyond reach. To all our folks in that spot – we sincerely hope things get better for you quickly – hang in there. If you need help, don’t suffer in silence, visit the City’s web site HERE for local resources.

But for all of us who can afford to support our local eateries – please do so! If you don’t feel comfortable yet dining in, then get a gift certificate. All of them sell them and they make perfect gifts! (Mother’s Day, Graduation anyone…hint hint.) Do what you can because all of our local businesses are going to need our support! And most importantly, let’s be respectful to each other, wherever we are in this journey. Be well.

And now, please head on over to one of our social media channels Facebook, Instagram or Twitter, and tell us what you want to see from our local dining spots!

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