"There’s no financial win at all” says restaurant owner on 25% capacity limit

Virus Outbreak Shutdown Defiance
Posted at 3:36 PM, Jan 29, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-29 16:38:04-05

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Restaurants in Michigan will be allowed to offer in-person dining start Monday, February 1. But some owners say opening won't be worth it, as capacity is limited to 25% or 100 people, whichever is smallest.

Eric Chaitin, the owner of the Matchbox Diner in eastown says it doesn't make financial sense to open.

“It doesn’t, for us especially, for us, for the business…there’s no financial win at all.”

READ: Restaurant owners say 25% capacity isn't enough to open

But despite the negative impact to his bottom line, Chaitin says he will open, hoping that the benefit of getting back to work helps his employees more than it hurts him. To try to make up the losses, Chaitin plans to use money from a Payroll Protection Program loan.

Another challenge is bringing in a supply of food for only 25% capacity dining.

“You look at historical numbers, and data from the previous year, and that’s all based on having the restaurant open,” said Chaitin

READ: Allegan County Brewery happy to reopen, "25% is a higher number than 0%"

The biggest unknown isn't finances or supply issues; it's the lack of communication.

“What’s making me the most frustrated, is I’m not hearing from the governor’s office, the logic, or the story behind, why 25%,” said Chaitin.

The Matchbox Diner is set to open for indoor dining on Thursday, February 4, 2021.

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