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About this blog: I am a native of Alameda County, grew up in Pleasanton and currently live in the house I grew up in that is more than 100 years old. I spent 39 years in the daily newspaper business and wrote a column for more than 25 years in add...  (More)

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The takeout math just doesn't work for restaurants

Uploaded: Mar 26, 2020
The county health departments’ shelter in place orders on March 9 caught many, many people by surprise.

With the hospitality and transportation industries already rocked, this order could devastate the restaurant and bar business if it continues very long. The same goes for personal services such as barber shops, nail salons and hairdressers. Most are either sole proprietors or independent contractors.

Speaking with Ray Bartolomucci, the owner of the three Strizzi’s restaurants and three Rigatoni’s, his revenues have cratered by more than 80 percent. He employs 122 people across his six locations and he’d already built a strong takeout and delivery business. Strizzi’s celebrated its 30th year on Main Street in Pleasanton in October.

Before the shutdown, he had shared there were times that the restaurants were slow, but the kitchens were hopping as chefs prepared takeout/delivery meals. In good times, that’s a nice extra revenue stream, but now it’s the only option.

The math is simple. When someone dines in the restaurant the average tab is $30-35 as people buy something to drink or add dessert. By contrast, the takeout is $11-12. And, for the servers (many of whom have been with him for a decade or more), more than half of their income is tips and they’re not working.

Ray and his team are aggressively marketing specials through social media and their email lists—they welcome the change in the law so they can now sell bottles of wine to go (a 50% off special with a takeout order at Rigatoni’s). The inventory of wine and/or spirits is a substantial sunken cost for all restaurants and bars that are closed today.

It should be noted that Strizzi’s is better equipped to ride this time out—because of its established takeout business—than other restaurants downtown that were entirely based on the dinner crowd. Those folks are simply sitting it out or scrambling to try and do a takeout business from scratch—a daunting task.

Ray also was reaching out to his landlords seeking rent relief because there simply will not be cash available and he’s prioritizing his staff. He’s had to close his Rigatoni’s Red Smoke Grill in Hacienda Business Park because—other than medical care—the business park is closed up tight.

That likely will be the case for restaurant operators everywhere. Mark Calvey reported in the San Francisco Business Times digital news that Greg Flynn, CEO of the Flynn Restaurant Group, told Reuters that none of his franchisees expected to be able to pay rent. The group operates popular restaurants such as Applebee’s, Taco Bell, Panera and Arby’s across 33 states.

The Business Times rank the company No. 7 on its list of private firms with 2018 revenue of $2.34 billion. It has 47,000 employees, according to the paper. Just how big that hit will be will show up in the new unemployment insurance filings this week.


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Comments

 +   8 people like this
Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore,
on Mar 26, 2020 at 11:34 am

Dr. Ho, Cal Tech: Web Link

It's unfortunate that so many businesses have been forced to shut down.

However, it will help keep the numbers down and residents to survive.

Take care of yourselves.


 +   14 people like this
Posted by Kate, a resident of Livermore,
on Mar 26, 2020 at 12:10 pm

We bought gift cards from our favorite places, knowing we may not get to use them if the restaurants don't survive. The Vine theater did an event where you could buy popcorn and gift cards, there was a line when we picked ours up. These things are being shared on social media. Waitstaff will suffer, but unemployment was made immediate and stimulus checks will arrive. I think the community is doing an admirable job pulling together. Yes there is sniping occasionally, but mostly I see people reaching out and trying to help. I found unopened N-95 masks from fire prep and a box of unopened gloves in my earthquake supplies and gave them to a local hospital based physician treating covid patients. A drop in the bucket I know, but it is what I had. If we all share what we have with those with the greatest need we can make things better.

God bless everyone on the front lines of this crisis!


 +   4 people like this
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of Vintage Hills,
on Mar 27, 2020 at 9:50 am

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

We have done takeout a couple times"Sabio's is being very creative and Oyo's has great options for vegans. Sad to see the Blue Agave completely closed. We will try some of our other favorites in the coming weeks. We are happy to support these local businesses; we'd had to lose any of them.


 +   14 people like this
Posted by Jack, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood,
on Mar 27, 2020 at 9:59 am

Jack is a registered user.

Just a note. I heard on the radio that delivery services charge the restaurant fees of around 30% of the total order, so consider picking up your stuff curbside and tip them directly to help them out the most.


 +   8 people like this
Posted by Carole Lee Manning, a resident of Danbury Park,
on Mar 27, 2020 at 10:05 am

Carole Lee Manning is a registered user.

What happened to the pictures of Downtown Pleasanton that we were supposed to see? I clicked on "here" and only saw the article about take-out restaurants -- a useful article, but I would also like to see the pictures.


 +   6 people like this
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of Vintage Hills,
on Mar 27, 2020 at 10:35 am

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

Carole: Web Link

It's not part of Tim's article; different story.


 +   4 people like this
Posted by Michael Austin, a resident of Pleasanton Meadows,
on Mar 27, 2020 at 9:40 pm

As in previous years history, with this current shelter in place, there will be new babies in nine months, "corona virus babies".


 +   8 people like this
Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore,
on Mar 28, 2020 at 8:28 am

"corona virus babies"

Web Link

Given the experience of Americans today, the above comment is unnecessary...sickening, not funny, written by a self-focused thing.



 +   5 people like this
Posted by Faith, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood,
on Mar 28, 2020 at 8:47 am

It's odd that a known risk factor for death from this virus is smoking and vaping due to the lung damage and yet we are still selling cigarettes and labeling pot shops as “essential businesses" Yet poverty and hunger is a risk factor for all and yet our government says restaurants are non essential businesses even with social distancing in place in the dining areas or in lines. You can catch the virus just as easily in line at the grocery store, yet we all accept that risk and go to those government chosen essential businesses. We have 7.7 million people in the Bay Area and have only had 37 deaths( sad yes, but we had more deaths last year from the flu...and we have a vaccine for the flu) The extreme shelter in place is unsustainable and for a lot of families MORE harmful than the virus with a death rate similar to other viruses we have seen in the Bay Area.


 +   4 people like this
Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore,
on Mar 28, 2020 at 10:27 am

I don't smoke merry-anna...I bake it in cookies and other treats!



 +   3 people like this
Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore,
on Mar 28, 2020 at 10:31 am

This info may be helpful: Web Link


 +   4 people like this
Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore,
on Mar 28, 2020 at 10:32 am

New York Times: Web Link


 +   12 people like this
Posted by BobB, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood,
on Mar 28, 2020 at 4:31 pm

BobB is a registered user.

@Faith,

As I wrote on another thread -- It isn't what the numbers are today. It is what they will be 2 to 4 weeks if we didn't do anything. The hospitals and urgent care would be so overburdened in that case that people would be dying from appendicitis, treatable accidents, common flu, and COVID-19 because there simply wouldn't be enough people and equipment to treat them.

It is about flattening the curve. Infection rate was growing exponentially.


 +   4 people like this
Posted by Faith, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood,
on Mar 28, 2020 at 5:26 pm

Bob, stop fear mongering. The Bay Area death rate from Covid is going down. And as I said, we have 15+ hospitals just in Alameda county to take non covid patients.


 +   10 people like this
Posted by BobB, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood,
on Mar 28, 2020 at 5:34 pm

BobB is a registered user.

@Faith,

Listen to the experts. Who are you listening to, or are you "doing your own research" like an anti-vaxxer? Stay at home or you will be putting us all at risk. Do you know what exponential growth is and where the phrase "go viral" comes from?

Read this:

Web Link


 +   3 people like this
Posted by DKHSK, a resident of Bridle Creek,
on Mar 28, 2020 at 5:42 pm

DKHSK is a registered user.

"Flattening the curve" means lengthening the duration and, hopefully, alleviate hospital crowding. It does nothing for death rates.

The longer the duration, the more economic pain you get for the same amount of infection and death you would have had anyway.

Dan


 +   4 people like this
Posted by Faith, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood,
on Mar 28, 2020 at 5:46 pm

Bob, you are no expert. Stop fear mongering.


 +   6 people like this
Posted by BobB, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood,
on Mar 28, 2020 at 6:15 pm

BobB is a registered user.

@DKHSK,

"It does nothing for death rates. "

BS. It both flattens the curve in decreases the area under the curve.

Haven't you read the articles?

Why do you think we are taking all this economic pain? Just for fun?


 +   3 people like this
Posted by BobB, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood,
on Mar 28, 2020 at 6:18 pm

BobB is a registered user.

@DKHSK,

Did you read the link I posted from March 10?

This is serious.


 +   11 people like this
Posted by BobB, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood,
on Mar 28, 2020 at 6:20 pm

BobB is a registered user.

@Faith,

You are not an expert either. That is why we need to trust what they say, and people like that idiot pastor who held church services in defiance of the rules should be jailed.


 +   4 people like this
Posted by Faith, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood,
on Mar 28, 2020 at 6:41 pm

You mean like that idiot Senator that cruised around SF telling us all Covid 19 wasn't contagious? You do you Bob! Stay in your house if you are that scared. I see facts to the contrary of what you are pushing...that we in the Bay Area sheltered in place for a month, increased testing, and dropped the death rate. Time to get our society (not seniors or risk factor folks) out of their houses and back to work and school. We are not a communist country and cannot be forced to not go out of our houses and only go to government deemed “essential" businesses.


 +   10 people like this
Posted by BobB, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood,
on Mar 28, 2020 at 7:03 pm

BobB is a registered user.

Vacciate your children.


 +   3 people like this
Posted by BobB, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood,
on Mar 28, 2020 at 10:02 pm

BobB is a registered user.

Read this please.

Web Link


 +   2 people like this
Posted by DKHSK, a resident of Bridle Creek,
on Mar 29, 2020 at 11:58 am

DKHSK is a registered user.

Yes BobB, I're read multiple articles on "flattening the curve".

It's meant to only help alleviate hospital shortages (beds, ventilators...etc) and giving businesses enough time to fulfill the supply chain for critical items.

Dan


 +   2 people like this
Posted by DKHSK, a resident of Bridle Creek,
on Mar 29, 2020 at 12:01 pm

DKHSK is a registered user.

BTW, I'm not saying this isn't "serious".

I'm saying that I'm not running around like a chicken with my head cut-off.

Panic is for losers.


 +   2 people like this
Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore,
on Mar 29, 2020 at 2:31 pm

SAFE MASK OR A SCAM?

Web Link


 +   2 people like this
Posted by Jake Waters, a resident of Birdland,
on Mar 29, 2020 at 9:16 pm

First. I have been following the ‘shelter in place' command, though I am concerned. At what point do we reach the tipping point, the point of no return, or a length of time that sweeps us off our feet? What outcome are we willing to accept for our kids and grandchildren? I'm nearing 69, and I am not worried about my health outcome as much as I am concerned for their future. Serious thought better go into deciding whether we stay sheltered in place for another 30 to 60 days. Furthermore, we have no idea what our infection rate is, but we have models making guesses. Perhaps we need to start randomly testing to provide us a picture to inform our smart people what we are doing right and what we need to do going forward.


 +   2 people like this
Posted by Michael Austin, a resident of Pleasanton Meadows,
on Mar 29, 2020 at 9:46 pm

A couple of things elderly should be doing while sheltering in place:

Check your blood pressure every three or four hours. Record the reading on a spread sheet, with date and time, use thermometer to check your body temperature each early morning and again before you go to bed. Record this reading on your spread sheet.

On the same spread sheet you can record your activity during the day, if you were in the garden pulling weeds, or pruning the fruit trees, record this activity, it may be relevant to your blood pressure readings.


 +   2 people like this
Posted by DKHSK, a resident of Bridle Creek,
on Mar 30, 2020 at 5:52 pm

DKHSK is a registered user.

During the stay-in-place, I've been seeing memes on Facebook that have been passed around by some of my family members that are teachers.

Basically, the memes are smarmy anecdotes laughing at how we parents now get to see how hard it is to teach our own kids. Some are meant to be funny, others a more outright sarcastic. All of them are ridiculous.

Anyway, those same teachers that were passing along those memes are now passing along a obvious form letter asking that we parents not "scrutinize" how those same teachers teach when they start distance learning.

Imagine being insulted about how crappy your kid is in class, only now to be told that it isn't fair to criticize how a teacher teaches. Breathtakingly ironic, no?

I, for one, will be watching as we evolve into a new phase of education.



 +  Like this comment
Posted by michwell, a resident of Carriage Gardens,
on Apr 1, 2020 at 12:09 am

michwell is a registered user.

Online surveys are very popular at present. With mcdonalds survey and feedback portal, the company is trying to get real opinions and reward your customers when they complete Customer Satisfaction. Check official survey at mcdvoice.com Web Link


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Michael Austin, a resident of Pleasanton Meadows,
on Apr 1, 2020 at 9:44 pm

Maybe this zoom teaching now in place will publicly identify the under performing teachers in the PUSD district.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Minus Five Stars, a resident of another community,
on Apr 2, 2020 at 2:07 am

Nice.
Web Link


 +  Like this comment
Posted by DKHSK, a resident of Bridle Creek,
on Apr 2, 2020 at 11:06 am

DKHSK is a registered user.

Zoom has engineering development in China.

Zoom is not to be trusted.


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