By: Lauren Wixom
ROCHESTER , N.Y.- The restaurant industry has had notable impacts caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Rochester restaurants have had to adapt to many new rules and restrictions throughout the last year. As the world is slowly starting to open up more and the warmer weather is approaching, the restaurant industry is starting to recover. Governor Cuomo announced that on March 19th, 2021 restaurants can move to 75% capacity.
The 110 Grill is one restaurant in Rochester that is starting to have a resurgence of business due to Governor Cuomo’s new pandemic guidelines.
Matt Pollock, 110 Grill’s general manager is getting ready for a busier season as outdoor dining is coming back and the restaurant is now allowed to have 75% capacity. Pollock has been the general manager at 110 Grill for two years and has seen the restaurant struggle during the pandemic.
“A few members of 110 Grill’s Corporate staff came to the Rochester location within the past week and had a meeting with all of our general managers to discuss the new restrictions being lifted and how to prepare the restaurant for a busier spring and summer season”, Pollock said. This past year has been very difficult for all of our employees and the restaurant has been very slow throughout this past year. I am so excited that we are able to seat and serve more guests and that we are able to have outdoor dining on our patio’s. I am very optimistic for the restaurant industry as restrictions are being lifted and life is starting to return to normal”, Pollock said.
Kenny Foster, a server at 110 Grill started working at the restaurant in January 2020 and has been negatively financially impacted by the pandemic.
“I started working at 110 Grill two months before the pandemic hit and we were a very busy and fast paced restaurant”, Foster said. After we had to shut down in March 2020, we weren’t able to re-open our dining room until June 2020. After our dining room re-opened and I was able to serve again we had very slow nights and I was suffering financially. I am trying to be positive about the summer season as we will be able to have more guests and busier nights. I am hoping I will be able to serve more people and start to recover financially”, Foster said.
A new report from One Fair Wage found that more than 80% of service industry workers are seeing a decline in tips. Restaurant servers have struggled financially as many people are still not going out to eat or tip their servers as well due to the pandemic.
Shannon Caufield, a line cook at 110 Grill is hopeful for 110 Grill’s future now that restrictions are beginning to be lifted in New York. Caufield has been working at 110 Grill since August 2019.
“I have seen the dramatic effects the pandemic has caused to our restaurant and I am ready for tings to start to go back to normal. I worked throughout the pandemic doing to-go orders and I have seen our restaurants employee’s struggle as many people have not been indoor dining. I believe that we are busy in the warmer seasons because of the outdoor dining and the restaurant restrictions being lifted right before is perfect timing”, Caufield said.
There are numerous hardships that the restaurant industry has faced due to the pandemic. The 110 Grill and many other Rochester restaurants are hopeful that this upcoming spring and summer will bring them more business and economic success.