Round-up: Lots of Best Practices and One Bad Idea

Forget winter patio dining. These could be the next social distancing dining rooms.

Around the world

In Amsterdam, a restaurateur is building tables for two inside tiny glass greenhouses with peaked roofs to give diners a real sense of social distancing. They're lined up along a river. In Minnesota, we, too, have a river. How about repurposing those domed igloos that popped up for winter patio dining for June 1 when patios and dining rooms can reopen. Maybe a tent city inside large dining rooms?

The servers at the Amsterdam restaurant wear gloves and clear face shields and serve using long boards to hand diners their plates.

In Sweden a restaurant for one is opening, according to People magazine, where a single table is set up in a field and the multi-course meal is delivered via a basket using a pulley system. The cost? Negotiable, the article says.

One solution we don’t advocate is adding pole dancers to your drive-thru. When a strip-club in Oregon had to close, it transitioned to takeout food, but kept the show going. Customers drive through a tented drive-thru (much like a carwash) to pick up their food while dancers in masks work their poles on either side of the cars. Both the delivery service and the drive-thru, called "Food 2 Go-Go," cost an additional $30. And because we know you want to look this up for research purposes, the club is called Lucky Devil.


Faces of the Industry

Hospitality Minnesota and its members have been aggressively lobbying the state. One of its tactics is to put a face on the restaurant and hospitality businesses and for individual restaurateurs to tell their own stories of what the shutdown has meant to their businesses.

Here are four of the messages that lawmakers heard:

Tim Murray of Murray’s, a third-generation restaurant in downtown Minneapolis

Bill Kozlak of the third-generation Jax Café in Northeast Minneapolis

Mike Runyon of Nook/Shamrocks in St. Paul

Mark Roneii, Brainerd Grandview Lodge/Hotel


Tweet from Tim Niver, owner of Mucci’s and Saint Dinette

"We’ve forever used the liquor margins to cover the cost of food and kitchen labor. The reality is that food has been undervalued by the 80% margin charged on cocktails and that’s still not been enough. Labor dollars that go to food production should appear in food costs and cheaper drinks."


A resident of Potluck food hall in Rosedale Center, Betty & Earl's Biscuit Kitchen has found another way to stay afloat while the mall is closed. Owner Jason Matheson and Adrienne Odom launched the #BiscuitLoveTour to take the biscuits on the road. Every weekend they select a different spot around the Twin Cities metro to park in. Customers preorder a six-pack of biscuits and then pick them up at the prearranged parking lot. Biscuit fans can follow Betty & Earl’s on social media @bettyandearls for updates and information on the latest tour stops.

Nordic Waffles may not have a date at the state fair this year, but they are showing up in local grocers’ freezer section. The All Day Breakfast is made with eggs, bacon and cheddar cheese on a traditional Norwegian waffle, and come in a frozen two-pack. Distribution has been secure,  with orders from Lunds and Byerlys being set up.

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