A different dine-in experience under COVID-19 pandemic


It is not only restaurant owners who need to keep up with the changes to dine-in services, but they also want customers to be aware of the COVID-19 safety measures before dining.

The owner of Tex808 BBQ & Brews and Teddy’s Bigger Burgers, Rich Stula, said he wants to make sure the customers and his staff members stay safe as they prepare to welcome back customers inside on Friday.

Stula said, “We have an hourly alarm that goes off just for sanitization alarm that we basically go through and hit all of the surfaces, knobs, polls, anything people touch.”

He said a reservation will not be needed to dine at Tex808 inside the Hawaii Kai Towne Center but their dining area will only open at half capacity.

Stula said, “It was a full-service restaurant, but we are going to be taking orders as they come in so that they don’t have as much time on the floor with servers.”

Over at Rajanee Tai Restaurant at Haleiwa Store Lots, being at 50% capacity means setting about five tables.

The general manager, Michelle Maldonado, said reservations are not required but are preferred in order to prepare if it is a group that plans to dine with them.

Maldonado said, “We go the extra mile and ask if they are from the same household because they are not permitted to have parties larger than 10 unless they are from the same household.”

Both of the restaurants stayed in business for take-out but there is no denying it is costing them more to remain open than before.

The chairman of the Hawaii Restaurant Association, Thomas Jones, said prices from food suppliers on the mainland are going up and now businesses have increased costs related to cleaning and personal protection equipment.

He said it is possible some restaurants will increase prices.

Jones said, “We are faced with a variety of price increases, I would expect that maybe prices increase on the menu, if not overtly on the check in the form of fees.”

Jones said people should not be surprised if some restaurants check their temperature before entering, he said people will also discover that they may have to wait outside or inside their cars to be seated.

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