Open new eating places within the Indy space as they deal with the challenges of the pandemic
CARMEL, Ind. – As the pandemic subsides, restaurants in the area are seeing a surge in demand. It leads to the creation of some new facilities, but concept and hiring challenges remain.
“We have restaurants that do their best weeks with three or four waiters 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 Indiana restaurants have lost 20,000 employees since the pandemic. It does so despite this return in demand and reduced restrictions. InRLA says that new restaurants may have the upper hand over the servers as new locations tend to bring a rush of customers for them to collect. Regardless, places like Wahlburgers in Carmel are closing before they open on Monday.
“It was an opportunity across the country, but we like to say that there is always room at the table,” says Andrew Pedersen, General Manager of Carmel Wahlburger.
InRLA adds that it can also be difficult for spots to get certain goods. Tamm says steak prices are extremely high because processors can’t get their employees back to work either.
“Do you have restaurants that are still in operation and are changing their business concepts so that we now offer counter service?” Explains Tamm.
Counter service and fast-casual dining can be operated with fewer employees and at the same time the implementation effort can be maximized. 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 is smoked for hours. It’s about taking a traditional dinner and turning it into pandemic habits.
“Lots of people are excited to try something new,” adds Badiane, “since we’re open, people come back.”
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