GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. – The Mesa County Public Health Department is allowing restaurants to open dining rooms at 30% capacity, but many local restaurants are deciding to keep their dining rooms closed.
According to Josh Niernberg, Owner and Chef of Bin 707 Foodbar, the restaurant won’t be opening its dining room for now.
The upscale eatery has adapted to the restrictions that have been implemented because of the COVID-19 pandemic and, despite the green-light from MCPH, have chosen to air on the side of caution.
“We have completely remodeled the restaurant in order for it to operate for us to do this curbside service,” said Niernberg.
The restaurant transformed its patio, creating distancing space for workers and an outdoor expo line for orders.
“We’ve got somebody that works this side of the table between here and the inside of the dining room, this door is open all the time so we’re able to get in and out of the restaurant without having to touch anything,” said Niernberg.
When employees come to work they wash their hands, clock in, and screen.
“They’ll use this handy little thermometer and record your temperature, and use this temperature log, by day, so that we can keep track of temperatures by all employees,” said Niernberg.
Gloves and masks are also available to staff for safety purposes.
Not only has the patio been transformed, half of the indoor seating has also been converted to streamline service for customers ordering take-out.
“This was previously about nine tables, so now we’ve turned this into basically out to-go area,” said Niernberg.
The team is working to balance the ordering rush hours.
“Our sales are still down by about 60% so we’re really just trying to adapt to be able to keep food moving,” said Niernberg.
According to Josh, this new set-up doesn’t mix well with the 30% capacity option or the guest experience the eatery is aiming to provide.
“We would be operating with essentially three tables, we’d be policing people at the door, we’d be taking down reservations, all of those things are things that we don’t necessarily want to do for the guest experience,” said Niernberg.
Plus, the restaurant’s menu and drink options are all available online.
“We feel that you’ll have a better experience eating our food in the comfort of your own home than in our dining room with the heavily policed regulations that we would have to do at this time,” said Niernberg.
If this virus continues to spread and is found at any local restaurant, Niernberg said, more than likely, that restaurant would go out of business.
For Niernberg, and many other restaurant owners here in the valley, that’s not a risk they’re willing to take.
KREX 5/Fox 4 will continue to bring you the latest updates regarding service options for local businesses.
If you’re interested in supporting local business by ordering takeout from Bin 707 Foodbar, click here.