Restaurants and bubble seating

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Photo Courtesy of Bobcat Bonnies Wyandotte Facebook Page

Bobcat Bonnie’s festively decorated Christmas “Igloos” are an option for more comfortable outdoor dining out with your family.

Some restaurants have been able to adapt to the restrictions implemented by Governor Whitmer and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services which prohibit indoor dining, while other restaurants have not been as successful.
According to the Michigan Restaurant and Lodging Association two-thousand restaurants have already closed, with upwards of six thousand projected to close by Spring.
One unique way some Wyandotte restaurants have adapted in by offering unique outdoor seating opportunities in spite of the cold. Bobcat Bonnie’s is one of the restaurants in Wyandotte that offers outdoor dining in festively decorated “igloos.”
Senior Logan Neal, a host at Bobcat Bonnie’s, seems to understand the implementation of these guidelines. “Even though the new restrictions are sad because there’s no dining in, they are much needed,” Neal said.
In the four weeks that Neal has worked at Bobcat Bonnies there’s been a myriad of changes.
“They have set up outdoor reservation only dining [in the igloos], changing pay, and scheduling employees for any available opening- not just their original job, and introducing doordash, delivery, and carryout options,” Neal said.
The change to limited outdoor seating has been seamless since they opened just days before Whitmer’s newest restrictions in the beginning of November. Some staff, such as Neal, have switched to positions they weren’t initially planning on starting in. Originally slated to be a host, he is now working carry-out.
While not only affecting business sales and the amount of hours that can be given out, COVID has impacted every aspect of the restaurant industry.
“It sucks, but it’s necessary that the restrictions are there. I just hope things get better next year,” Neal said.
But, not every restaurant in Wyandotte is able to offer outdoor seating, such as Little Pierogi and Crepe Kitchen. They’ve shifted to a strict carryout only model. But, according to senior Cordelia Krajewski, an employee at Little Pierogi, the business is managing through this time just fine.
“I didn’t work there prior to Covid, but the owner told me that they’ve been making just as much money a day as they did before closing the dining room in March,” Krajewski said.
Krajewski has been there since late July taking orders, cleaning, and preparing food.
She said, “I personally wish my job was being a bit more cautious with masks and separating me from the customers, but I’m glad they never opened the dining room even when we were allowed to over the summer.”
Currently, the restrictions on indoor dining on Michigan businesses will continue through December 20th, with the possibility of them being extended. “I glad there are restrictions in place, and while it does really suck at times, it’s what’s needed to protect us,” Krajewski said.
Little Pierogi and Crepe Kitchen plans on keeping their dining room closed until the mask mandate is lifted completely.
The restrictions don’t only affect sit down dining, they also affect other kinds of food places such as Stroh’s Ice Cream. Junior Francesca Giammalva, an ice cream scooper, has been working at Strohs for almost a year.
Stroh’s has taken extensive measures to protect their employees and customers, and the employees are happy with how the owners have reacted to the restrictions.
“Strohs has adapted by taking the majority of orders outside the building, closing seating, putting up glass partitions, and strict cleaning guidelines,” Giammalva said.
While every business is different, Wyandotte businesses have faced their fair share of challenges with the restrictions put into place.
According to store employees at Stroh’s, they’ve seen an increase in belligerent actions from customers, but also a lot more understanding from their patrons.
The owner of Bobcat Bonnies, Matthew Buskard, was featured on FOX-2 news after having a customer verbally assault a younger member of their staff asking being asked to wear a mask.
While the uncertainty of the restaurant industry looms over head, businesses have developed ways to adapt to the current crisis. The challenges they face have already shuttered thousands of Michigan businesses.
Restaurants across the country are affected too, not just in Michigan. According to the National Restaurant Association, nearly one-in-six restaurants have closed, a staggering 100,000 across the country.
The effect that Covid-19 has had on the Restaurant and Service Industry is far from miniscule, and the full ramifications are not clear. 2020 may soon be over, but the Restaurant industry will have to keep fighting.