Employers across the country plan to get workers back into the office as vaccination rates for Covid-19 rise and pandemic restrictions ease.
According to celebrity chef Ming Tsai, these decisions could have an overwhelming impact on restaurant sales by businesses near city centers and office buildings.
“We don’t know the new normal,” Tsai said at CNBC’s Small Business Playbook conference. “Will half of the people come back to work and the other half stay at home, or is it two-thirds? Whatever it is, it affects restaurants that rely on lunchtime heavily because there aren’t any right now. ” … It depends on happy hour and of course dinner. “
Tsai is the host and executive producer of the television cooking show “Simply Ming” and owns the Blue Dragon restaurant in Boston. When the lockdowns began, Tsai teamed up with Chef Ed Lee, more than a dozen other Kentucky restaurants, and Maker’s Marks to work with Blue Dragon staff to create meal and care packages for the unemployed or on leave restaurant workers.
But after the funds for this initiative ran out, Blue Dragon closed. The restaurant has been temporarily closed for 11 months and its future survival is still unclear.
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Its location in the Boston seaport district was once an asset. Before the crisis, Amazon announced plans to create several thousand jobs in the region to help create more customers for Blue Dragon. Now the location of the restaurant could be a liability depending on how the local workforce returns to their offices.
“It’s been the last year and really the next 12 to 18 months – we just don’t know what’s going to happen to this area and so many areas like that around the country,” Tsai told CNBC’s Kate Rogers.
According to a survey by Arizona State University with the support of the Rockefeller Foundation, 66% of employers plan to allow employees to work from home full-time by 2021. Goldman Sachs and the New York Stock Exchange are among the employers who are calling workers back to the office sooner.
When the pandemic is over, 73% of employers intend to offer flexible working arrangements, according to the survey results. However, the majority of respondents would like their workforce to be in the office for at least 20 hours a week.