‘It’s more profitable to do to-go’: KC restaurant owners concerned with new 10% capacity rule

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Reopening day for dine-in restaurants in Kansas City is May 15. But it won’t be business as normal.

Restaurant owners and managers say the new 10/10/10 rule will actually hurt their businesses.

“It’s almost like telling us to stay in ‘to-go’ business. It doesn’t really work,” said John Greer, general manager of Ponak’s Mexican Kitchen & Bar. “It’s more profitable to do to-go.”

Greer said he’s looking for is a more realistic approach.

He’s joining a number of other restaurant owners who said they cannot survive on the 10% capacity rule, announced Wednesday by Mayor Quinton Lucas.

“Ten percent of my seating is 280 people, so it would be 28 people. If I take off my employees, it’s less than that I can seat. The only way I can make a living is if I did $100 per person,” Greer said.

While Greer waits for further guidance from the health department, others said they are in no rush to reopen.

“We are not really in a rush to reopen at this point. I think we are going to take it a slow opening and see how that goes because I don’t even know if folks will be wanting to rush to eat out at restaurants,” said Malisa Monyakula, owner of Lulu’s Thai Noodle Shop.

At Lulu’s Thai Noodle Shop, Monyakula said they are working to be proactive, for now continuing curbside pick-up.

“We increased all our sanitation on our high-traffic high touch areas, and that occurs every 15 minutes. We have dedicated staff members who just go around and sanitize and sterilize all the high-touch areas,” Monyakula said. “Curbside is never going to go-away. We are going to continue curbside at both locations. It has been very popular. Delivery has been really popular as well.”

Lucas will be speaking with reps from the Greater Kansas City Restaurant Association on  Friday to provide more details on new standards and steps ahead.

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