Five solutions to save restaurants this winter

Think tank offers survival blueprint

New York /
Oct.October 27, 2020 11:45 AM
In a report, The Center for an Urban Future asked over twenty city leaders and experts how to make survival, and potentially even success, viable. (Getty)

In a report, The Center for an Urban Future asked over twenty city leaders and experts how to make survival, and potentially even success, viable. (Getty)

With a few weeks left until cold weather scares away outdoor diners, many are questioning whether the current 25 percent capacity limit on indoor dining will be enough for restaurants to keep operating.

In a report, the think tank Center for an Urban Future asked more than 20 city leaders and experts how to give eateries a realistic shot at survival, and potentially even success. Here are five of their plethora of solutions.

1. Incentivize landlords to “lend” vacant space

Some restaurants have been using nearby sidewalk space for outdoor dining, although the legality of that remains questionable.

Tim Tompkins, president of the Times Square Alliance, recommends that the city provide a tax credit to landlords for allowing restaurants to spill over into their empty space.

2. Change zoning, licensing and building codes to allow outdoor dining long-term

Some rules have already been lifted to let restaurants use parking lanes and sidewalks. But now that outdoor dining is permanent, the Wild West of outside seating must be regulated.

Carl Weisbrod of HR&A Advisors, a former chairman of the City Planning Commission, wants the city to create a commission that would examine sidewalk usage for small businesses.

3. Stop surprise inspections

A restaurant can lose its liquor license or be shut down as a result of an inspection done without notice.

In August, The Real Deal mapped the thousands of complaints against businesses in each borough. Some received dozens of complaints, jeopardizing their ability to stay in business.

“This is a policy shift that could be easily implemented and would remove the gotcha that normally plays out in the city’s restaurant and bar scene at a time when restaurants are dealing with new challenges,” writes Andrew Rasiej, founder and CEO of Civic Hall. “Make it more predictable. You get your car inspected on schedule. Why not your restaurant?”

4. Temporarily interiorize streets

The city’s Open Streets program has closed certain corridors to traffic, but what about keeping winter out, too?

“I would like to see a combination of simple greenhouse construction and street closure program to make some streets into temporary arcades like in many European and Australian cities,” suggested Jing Liu, principal of Brooklyn-based architecture firm SO-IL.

5. Foster partnerships between offices and small businesses

Just 10 percent of Manhattan employees are back in the office. But how many are eating out?

Jessica Lappin and Joshua Nachowitz of the Alliance for Downtown New York propose that companies provide a small credit to employees who dine at local restaurants.





    Related Articles

    arrow_forward_ios
    Kohler Interiors' Rachel Kohler with  21-05 51st Avenue (Loopnet, Getty)
    Tile retailer Ann Sacks inks 21K sf lease in Long Island City
    Tile retailer Ann Sacks inks 21K sf lease in Long Island City
    Vornado's Steve Roth with 1540 Broadway
    Vornado writes down portfolio by $600M
    Vornado writes down portfolio by $600M
    (Photo Illustration by The Real Deal with Getty)
    Big-box retail growth has Bed Bath & Beyond landlords thinking
    Big-box retail growth has Bed Bath & Beyond landlords thinking
    Chick-fil-A CEO Andrew Cathy and a rendering of Chik-fil-A 2205 Central Park Avenue in Yonkers  (Chik-fil-A/City of Yonkers)
    Chick-fil-A hatches first Westchester location
    Chick-fil-A hatches first Westchester location
    Harry Macklowe with 1 Wall Street
    Macklowe’s 1 Wall Street tops Manhattan’s largest retail leases of 2022
    Macklowe’s 1 Wall Street tops Manhattan’s largest retail leases of 2022
    (Photo Illustration by Steven Dilakian for The Real Deal with Getty)
    Manhattan retail market rises again, but momentum wanes
    Manhattan retail market rises again, but momentum wanes
    Retail, Shopping Centers, Cushman & Wakefield
    U.S. shopping center vacancy hits 15-year low
    U.S. shopping center vacancy hits 15-year low
    (Getty Images)
    Bed Bath & Beyond weighs bankruptcy
    Bed Bath & Beyond weighs bankruptcy
    arrow_forward_ios

    The Deal's newsletters give you the latest scoops, fresh headlines, marketing data, and things to know within the industry.

    Loading...