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Memphis News & Weather | Memphis, TN | WATN - localmemphis.com

Winter is coming: How restaurants will fare with less holiday parties

The last couple of months of the year are typically high in revenue for restaurants, but the pandemic is expected to change that.

MEMPHIS, Tennessee — The colder months in a normal year means bigger parties at restaurants.  

But as we all know  this year is nothing like normal due to the pandemic.   

So how are restaurants faring without the typical large revenue of holidays parties?   

It’s another season that will hit restaurants hard in a year where they’ve had to shutdown and see lesser crowds.   

“Come the holidays it’s going to be a little tough,” said Erling Jensen, chef and owner at Erling Jensen’s. “We used to have those parties of 18, 20, 35 people. Christmas get-togethers.”  

Jensen said the days of putting one big party in one room and a second big party in another aren’t possible now.   

While Jensen said they can still seat parties of 35 – they can’t be seated together. Instead there’s a limit of 8 diners per table and tables must be 6 feet apart.   

“We’ll be down about 45-50% in revenue,” said the chef.   

“There will be a loss because December is the biggest month for restaurants in our city or everywhere,” said James Taras, the co-owner and operating partner at Jim’s Place Grill in Collierville.   

With it’s large dining room the business focuses on corporate parties and rehearsal dinners, but the pandemic is impacting that revenue source.   

“When people stay at home and work they’re not having the functions,” said Taras. “Team dinners, team lunches. Any of use that have larger private dining rooms know it’s kind of a big revenue stream.”  

When asked if they could survive another wave of COVID-19 cases Taras and Jensen remained optimistic. 

“There’s a certain experience and decompressing for the public to come in and enjoy each other’s company with family and friends and eating inside,” Taras explained.    

“It would be hard but we will do it,” said Jensen. “I mean you just have to roll with the punches.”