New Restaurants Are Still Opening During the Pandemic

The coronavirus has closed countless restaurants, temporarily or permanently. Yet, even as the future may look dire for new restaurants, entrepreneurs are opening against economic uncertainty.

“Some people think we’re crazy to have our opening day right now,” says Chen Dien of Coffeeholic House in Seattle. Chen and his wife Trang Cao, Dien, opened the cafe, which specializes in brewing with Vietnamese slow-drip phin filters. They opened for takeout only on March 17,  just one day after Seattle closed restaurants for dine-in service.

It has been their dream for many years to open their coffee shop.

They simply could not let their dream die and remain closed to them wasn’t an option!

The couple closed the cafe soon after, for two weeks, as the situation grew worse. After Gov. Jay Inslee extended the stay-at-home order till May 4, they decided to reopen.

“There’s a lot of good stuff we want to launch, but we’re waiting for the best timing,” though he remains optimistic. “We’ve been waiting for more than a year already, so it’s okay to wait for a little bit more.” During this summer, he hopes Coffeeholic can offer more drinks, like watermelon juice, coconut coffee, and lychee or passion fruit tea.

Like Dien, many new business owners are staying excited! They continue to have big plans into the future, but for now, they must adjust their expectations.

New Restaurants Are Still Opening During the Pandemic

Even though new owners must continuously adapt to the rapidly changing situation, they know they need to provide hope and positive energy, both in demand as much as food.

“I know I seem a little crazy to be opening a restaurant right now! But when people come in and thank me for doing that, and they’re excited to see the food, to get some cheese and just have a little happiness, it makes it worth it,” says Felts, co-owner of Beautiful Rind. A new cheese shop, restaurant, and classes on showcasing the love of cheese at  2211 North Milwaukee Avenue in Chicago.

Beautiful Rind debuted by offering digital classes. Felts delivers all the cheese boards himself (“it’ how I started in the restaurant industry.”

“The big challenge for me right now as a business owner is quickly learning how to be a website manager or a webinar host,” Felts says. However, he admits “it’s not too different from other ways he’s pivoted as a business owner, I’m a pretty good plumber, also.

graphic for essential startup checklist

Regardless of the timing and the difficulty, it will be to open during COVID you should follow a startup “checklist” for starting a new business. I developed this list during my restaurant experiences. It contains a high-level listing of the tasks you need to complete in starting your new business.

There are many things to do when starting a restaurant, add a pandemic and those things multiply. Through my experience, there are necessary steps you should follow to start a restaurant regardless of the challenges presented by the pandemic. The FREE checklist on my resource page will walk you through those steps.

 Best Practices for Retail Food Stores, Restaurants, and Food Pick-Up/Delivery Services During the COVID-19 Pandemic

FDA is sharing information about best practices to operate retail food stores, restaurants, and associated pick-up and delivery services during the COVID-19 pandemic to safeguard workers and consumers. Download the information as you work through starting a new restaurant!