Pandemic changes restaurant industry, some alterations will remain in place

Food & Drink

BOULDER, Colo. (KDVR) — The list of businesses and industries affected by COVID-19 restrictions is certainly extensive, but our local bars and restaurants hit close to home for almost everyone.

Constantly having to brainstorm new ways to stay afloat, restaurant owners said even after the pandemic, several new initiatives created over the past year could be here to stay, such as QR codes.

“We realized we’re going to throw away tons of paper which is wasteful, and recycling is still not as good as having something we can reuse,” Chad Pieper, general manager of Upslope Brewing in Boulder said. “It streamlines the process so that’s one thing that I’m sure all will continue to see. They will probably be around for a while.”

At Upslope Brewing, the owners decided to grant paid time off for their staff, so employees could take off when sick and not lose out on pay. That policy, which is unheard of in the restaurant industry, will stay.

“I’ve never heard of people in the service industry getting vacation time, typically you have to have someone cover your shift to stay home,” said Pieper. “This puts less pressure on them to come in and put other people at risk.”

In Denver, the general manager of Ale House has seen his share of changes as well.

“We had a huge amount of people coming in for jobs,” Thom Neil said. “It wasn’t necessarily people looking for jobs already in the industry, we were seeing a lot of people from other industries, that were really just looking for a job.”

Neil said he’s hired several employees with little restaurant experience to help staff his restaurant again.

“I’m willing to bring in people that can work hard and have the work ethic,” Neil said.

Both managers agree, there are plenty of things they’re looking forward to when the pandemic is over, such as no longer needing to enforce the mask policy and finally letting customers sit at a packed bar once again.

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