2. Buffets and Salad Bar Restaurants
With all of those people hovering over open food containers and all of those hands touching the same utensils, many buffet and salad bar restaurants may have to change their dining style or risk closing their doors altogether — which is what happened to salad bar chain, Sweet Tomatoes. The chain, known for its all-you-can-eat soup and salad bar, recently closed all of its locations because it was unable to stay afloat during the coronavirus pandemic.
“The FDA had previously put out recommendations that included discontinuing self-serve stations, like self-serve beverages in fast food, but they specifically talked about salad bars and buffets,” John Haywood, CEO of Garden Fresh, the parent company of Sweet Tomatoes and its sister buffet chain Souplantation, said in an interview with the San Diego Union-Tribune. “The regulations are understandable, but unfortunately, it makes it very difficult to reopen. And I’m not sure the health departments are ever going to allow it,” Haywood added. “We could’ve overcome any other obstacle, and we’ve worked for eight weeks to overcome these intermittent financial challenges but it doesn’t work if we are not allowed to continue our model.”