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Robert Kingsbury stopped at Unscripted Durham halfway between Atlanta and his home in Arlington, Virginia, to make the trip more manageable and explore “what seemed like a really cool hotel.”
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45 ceremonies from March to June, but the hotel still hosted its fair share of pandemic celebrations. Those provide some economic lift – as does the Inn’s outdoor space that can be used for dining and events – but it can’t completely mitigate other losses. Werner estimates 60% of the hotel’s revenue comes from transient business, which simply won’t be the same until there is better control over the spread of the virus. “As we get into next spring, April, May, June, people want to get back together,” Werner said and noted the Inn’s alreadybooked calendar for 2021. “They’re looking to a point in time where people can come together again and enjoy one another’s company without having to be distanced from one another and without having to have a mask on.” Hotels also provide economic opportunity to various other sectors in the hospitality industry. “Twenty cents on the dollar goes to the hotel,” Paolicelli said of each dollar spent by a visitor,
“but the rest of that money [goes to] restaurants, bars, shopping and attractions.” A decrease in hotel visitors naturally coincides with a drop across the board: fewer restaurant patrons, fewer barhoppers, fewer shoppers. To compensate, many restaurants, for example, opted to pivot their operations to takeout. But now the financial realities of downsizing full-scale restaurants into delivery/takeout operations, even with some restaurants allowing guests back inside at reduced capacities, are coming into focus. Restaurants operate on razor-thin margins when business is booming; those tiny margins have long since disappeared. A study from the National Restaurant Association shows 75% of restaurants think it’s unlikely they will be profitable within the next six months (under the assumption there will be no additional federal relief packages). The lack of full-service restaurants also leaves many traditional restaurant employees without a role. Or a job.
The Food and Drink Issue