Red Bird Cafe continues to feel the impact of COVID-19 | News
Red Bird Cafe continues to feel the impact of COVID-19 |  News

Red Bird Cafe continues to feel the impact of COVID-19 | News

DAYTON, Ind. (WLFI) – According to the Indiana Restaurant and Lodging Association, nearly 60 percent of Indiana restaurants are less profitable than before the pandemic began. News 18 spoke with several local restaurant owners to see what lasting effects COVID-19 has on their operations.

For Red Bird Cafe owner Trish Brown, the biggest adjustment has been to change the restaurant’s opening hours. Before the pandemic, Red Bird Cafe was open three days a week from 6 p.m. 06.00 – 14.00 and four days every week from kl. 06.00 – 20.45. Now the cafe is closed on Sundays and is only open from kl. at Monday-Saturday.

Brown says she needs to continue to make these adjustments, not to reduce costs, but to deal with a significant staff shortage. Red Bird Cafe had about 30 employees in early 2020. Brown says those numbers are significantly lower, but unlike the majority of restaurants in the state, her sales figures are not.

“We are operating right now with a deficit of about 14 employees to be able to reopen at night,” Brown said. “What I’m blessed to find out is our sales right now, operating six days a week on half days, and we got the same sales numbers that we had pre-pandemic.”

Brown says the federal help she received from the Restaurant Revitalization Fund was critical in the early stages of the pandemic to ensure she could hire enough people to stay open. She says that although the assistance made a difference at the time, her primary focus at this time is not on receiving more financial assistance.

“I really do not think that if they offered more, I would take more,” Brown said. “I received a letter about it, but I’m not interested. I think the problem now is not financial, it’s staff. I think that’s where I want to focus.”

Brown says that in addition to staffing, her business has also been affected by a shortage of the supply chain. She says that some items have been sold out since November, and it has been particularly difficult to get enough foam and foil products for the restaurant.

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