Maui Business

VIDEO: Real Talk with Chef and Restaurateur, Peter Merriman

May 4, 2020, 8:48 AM HST
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Tara Dugan, digital sales director of MauiNow interviews chef and restaurateur, Peter Merriman to learn how the coronavirus pandemic has affected his business operations and his outlook on the restaurant industry.

Merriman confirmed restaurant industry experts estimate that some restaurants will not be able to reopen once government lockdown from the coronavirus is lifted.

“It is absolutely true that some restaurants will not reopen. The question is what percentage of restaurants will not reopen,” Merriman said.

He said that restaurant industry experts of all disciplines expect around 20% to 80% will not reopen.

Looking forward to the future, Merriman does not expect that restaurants will go back to how operations were prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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“I think it is never going back to what we know…There is talk of social distancing inside restaurants – that would be a deathblow to us. Restaurants operate on really thin margins…If you take out even 10% of seats, it is going to be a disaster. Let alone taking out 50% of seats in restaurants,” he said.

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Merriman’s restaurants have used the tips his managers received from selling takeout to purchase produce from local farmers to giveaway to his employees weekly.

“They did not want to accept the tips, so what they did with the tip money. They went to these small farmers. They bought produce to keep the farmers, so they have income coming and then we distributed that produce to our employees,” Merriman said.

To learn more about what Peter Merriman and his restaurants, watch the interview above or visit their website.

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