Dining rooms empty by choice, not bad business

Dining rooms empty by choice, not bad business
They offer to-go and curbside pickup along with delivery services in Paragould. Their regular customers who choose to dine-in didn’t take the change well. (Source: KAIT-TV)

PARAGOULD, Ark. (KAIT) - A couple of restaurants decided to shift their services to be better off financially by closing dining rooms.

Larry’s Pizza of Paragould recently made this change.

They cut back on how many employees work per shift, saving them money.

“Having to cut back to only two or three employees a shift is very difficult. It’s very tough keeping people’s hours,” Rachelle Classen, general manager, said.

Usually, 6-8 people work per shift, and only two fill the restaurant now.

Classen spoke to each employee individually to tell them about the cutbacks.

“It’s right before Christmas, everybody needs the hours and get that money in for their gifts and stuff. I’m trying to do my best to make sure everybody has the hours they need,” she said.

They offer to-go and curbside pickup along with delivery services in Paragould. Their regular customers who choose to dine-in didn’t take the change well.

“It’s definitely a little bit of … tough conversations because they’re not sure why we’re doing it or they’re wanting to come in and sit down, do the buffet like normal,” she said.

They explain the change is for the safety of both staff and the customers.

“After Thanksgiving, with cases most likely increasing, we just kind of want to give time for everything to settle down a little bit,” she said.

They’re not the only restaurant in Paragould with this mindset.

Kiss the Cook Restaurant and Catering closed their dining room for the second time this year.

While they didn’t cut back any employee’s hours, they mentioned the financial hit this change brings.

“You experience about a 30-35 percent loss. We’ll see that. We’re already starting to see that over the last few weeks,” Libby Wamock-Glasco, owner, said.

While Larry’s Pizza may reopen their dining room depending on COVID-19 numbers in two weeks, Kiss the Cook does not have a projected date to reopen.

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