Al Fresco Dining

Dinova Takeaways: Bringing a Side of Good News – from Our Restaurant and Corporate Partners – to the Table…May 24 – 30

Well, we’re basically halfway through 2020. That in of itself is cause for celebration – you are likely surviving one of the most anxiety-ridden years of your life! Some of us are reeling from canceled summer vacations, while others now have to figure out how to make ends meet. The best thing we can do is stay humble and grateful for the signs of economic and social growth that are beginning to surface. 

This week we’re going to focus on the highlights we’ve heard from the restaurant industry that is giving us good vibes. Here’s what we think is definitely worth a read:

Al Fresco Dining
A server wearing a protective mask serves a drink to a customer in the outside dining area of a restaurant in St. Petersburg, Florida, U.S., on Monday, May 4, 2020. On Monday, sun worshippers and outdoor enthusiasts were able to return to Clearwater Beach on Florida’s Gulf Coast after all beaches in Pinellas County reopened for the first time in six weeks. Photographer: Zack Wittman/Bloomberg

Al Fresco Dining Is The Restaurant Industry’s Best Hope

If you are itching to get out for your next meal but you want to stay as safe as possible, try enjoying a night out on the patio of your favorite eatery. We’re excited to see the growth in outdoor (aka, “al fresco”) dining across the U.S., with areas such as Tampa’s Ybor City and Baltimore’s Little Italy clamoring the streets. With New York – the state that once was the hardest hit – now starting to reopen, many believe that sidewalk tables represent the best hope for recovery. What’s more, the rise in al fresco dining is just in time for summer!

third party delivery
New York City and Los Angeles join the mounting list of large cities from coast-to-coast capping third-party delivery fees.


Los Angeles and NYC cap third party delivery fees

With dine-in service limited (or nonexistent), many restaurants are forced to rely on delivery for up to 80% of sales; even with new emergency legislation in place (in some areas), those that use third-party delivery apps pay a hefty amount of that revenue in fees. We’re happy to see many large cities, including New York City and Los Angeles, capping the delivery commission to no more than 20%. This is part of a comprehensive relief package, which also prohibits charges for phone orders and waives sidewalk fees for outdoor dining. We encourage all of our diners to support our restaurants by ordering directly from them whenever possible.

First Watch
First Watch is an example of overcoming adversity and reacting quickly to a new normal.


Why First Watch Will Reemerge an Even Better Restaurant Chain

Every restaurateur has felt the impact of COVID-19, and we are particularly impressed with the innovative and quick reaction of our restaurant partner, First Watch. Before the pandemic, First Watch only took to-go orders over the phone directly through the restaurant. Once the pandemic hit, the restaurant chain was one of the first to shut all of its doors and stood up an online ordering platform in a matter of days. “An unintended benefit of us closing was we were really able to step back and look at some opportunities to better position ourselves,” says CEO Chris Tomasso. “And we worked really hard behind the scenes to do that so we could be in this position to reopen and in a more relevant way.” First Watch is also working around the clock to prepare for the new normal as dine-in services begin to reopen, with technological advancements including EMV credit card chip readers and a system to precheck employee health before they clock in. 

What are some positive news stories that you’ve heard this week? Let us know in the comments section below!

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