KCMO restaurants see mixed results during reopening

Some surviving, others permanently close
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Posted at 4:45 PM, Jun 10, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-10 19:28:42-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — As Kansas City-area restaurants begin to reopen, some are having more success than others.

"Best practice restaurant. Try to guarantee the safety of our guests, and the safety of our employees," Vic Allred, Jazz Louisiana Kitchen owner, said.

Allred's establishment on 39th Street is going the extra mile to guarantee that safety. Proactive Protect, a local company that specializes in deep cleaning, is disinfecting the interior of the restaurant with a new spray.

"What we’ve tried to do as an organization is identify ways, whether in food service or real estate or small businesses, find ways to adapt and offer a solution that’s raising the bar when it comes to viral disinfecting," Dario Jaramillo, a Proactive Protect partner, said.

Jazz now is at 50 percent capacity, and has stayed afloat thanks to its to-go service.

"It started as a trickle, but then it got busy,” Allred said. “After three to four weeks, no one wanted their mama’s cooking anymore and [they] wanted to go out and have their favorite meal.”

Other restaurants in the metro haven’t been as lucky, according to local restaurant consultant Jay Runnfeldt.

"The restaurant industry, the profit margins are very, very low,” Runnfeldt said. “When you sometimes are closed for two weeks, that can kill you.”

Runnfeldt also said that in addition to some restaurants permanently closing in the metro, the industry isn't out of the woods yet.

"We’re still going to see more permanent losses,” he said. “Just yesterday, two announced they’re not opening. What will happen is some places open again, and they’ll find out it’s not rebounding as fast as they need it to be."

Boru Ramen announced its closure on Tuesday, citing the economic environment.

But those who have been able to reopen are grateful.

"I feel very, very lucky that we weren’t just completely shut down," Allred said. "Our industry will bounce back, but we have a lot of work to do."