New eating places are popping up in central Indiana to fulfill the challenges of the pandemic
CARMEL, Ind. – With the end of the pandemic, demand in restaurants in the area is increasing sharply. It is causing some new entities to sign up, but the concept and setting challenges remain.
“We have restaurants that have their best weeks with three or four servers when they should have ten,” said Patrick Tamm, president and CEO of the Indiana Restaurant and Lodging Association (InRLA), not open on Mondays. “
Economic data shows that Indiana restaurants have lost 20,000 employees since the pandemic. This is happening despite the return of demand and reduced restrictions. InRLA says that new restaurants may have the upper hand over servers as new places tend to bring in a surge of customers for them to collect. Regardless, places like Wahlburgers in Carmel are closing before they open on Monday.
“It’s been an opportunity across the country, but we’d like to say there’s always room at the table,” said Andrew Pedersen, general manager of Carmel Wahlburgers.
InRLA adds that spots may also find it difficult to obtain certain goods. According to Tamm, the steak prices are extremely high because the processing companies cannot bring their employees back to work.
“Do you have restaurants that are still in operation and are changing their business concepts in such a way that we counteract the service today?” explains Tamm.
Counter service and fast-casual dining can be operated with fewer employees and at the same time maximize the effort involved. The operators of the new LA Taco restaurant across from the Fashion Mall say their fast-casual concept was developed with the pandemic in mind.
“We were trying to bring something new to town,” says Ngary Badiane, who runs LA Taco. “People are still aware of their health, so order them and take them home.”
LA Taco offers counter service, but all ingredients are freshly made. The tortillas are shaped and cooked in front of the customers while the brisket smokes for hours. It’s about having a traditional dinner and turning it into pandemic habits.
“Lots of people look forward to trying something new,” adds Badiane. “Since we’re open, people come back.”
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