NYC eating rooms are nonetheless closed. That is squeezing Olive Backyard’s greatest restaurant

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Earlier than the pandemic, New York Metropolis’s Instances Sq. was bustling with workplace employees, theater goers and vacationers. However pandemic restrictions have compelled Broadway to go darkish and eating rooms to stay closed. New York Metropolis has banned indoor eating since March, and plans to start out permitting indoor eating at as much as solely 25 p.c capability on the finish of the month.
The modifications have been disastrous for the Instances Sq. Olive Backyard, which is positioned on West 47th Road, between Broadway and seventh Avenue. The restaurant, which opened in 1994, is three tales tall, has two kitchens and might seat about 500 visitors. In years previous, it has offered New 12 months’s Eve packages for lots of of {dollars} per individual.

The restaurant used to herald over $15 million in gross sales per 12 months on common earlier than the pandemic, or about $300,000 per week, the corporate stated on an analyst name discussing the corporate’s quarterly outcomes on Thursday. Now, the restaurant is making about $17,500 per week in gross sales.

“That is our greatest restaurant within the Olive Backyard system,” stated Eugene Lee, CEO of Darden Eating places, which owns Olive Backyard, throughout the name. He added that the weekly shortfall “can in all probability be laborious so that you can imagine.”

Informal eating eating places, which have lengthy marketed as locations to go to in individual, have been struggling throughout the pandemic. Sizzler USA, one of many nation’s first informal restaurant chains, filed for chapter this week. Chuck E. Cheese’s mother or father firm, CEC Leisure, filed for chapter in June, blaming the monetary pressure attributable to Covid-19 and the extended closures of its leisure facilities from stay-at-home orders.
Darden (DRI), which additionally owns Longhorn Steakhouse, Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen, and different manufacturers, has additionally struggled.

Within the three months that ended on August 30, gross sales at Olive Backyard eating places open not less than a 12 months fell about 28 p.c in comparison with the identical interval final 12 months, the corporate stated Thursday. Darden’s whole gross sales for the quarter fell about 28 p.c to $1.53 billion for the quarter.

The corporate is hoping that loosening indoor eating restrictions will assist it bounce again, and never simply on the Instances Sq. location.

“Capability restrictions proceed to restrict [Olive Garden’s] prime line gross sales, notably in key high-volume markets like California and New Jersey, the place eating rooms had been closed for almost all of the quarter,” stated Lee.

“Getting California again goes to be enormous,” he added. “California is an enormous marketplace for us with excessive volumes.” In California, some counties have restricted indoor eating, whereas others are permitting it in restricted capacities.

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