x
Breaking News
More () »

St. Louis Breaking News, Weather, Traffic, Sports | KSDK.com

How St. Louis County restaurants are adapting to the indoor dining ban

Collier says they're putting heaters at every outdoor table, focusing on creating frozen pizzas, and transitioning about a quarter of their employees into new roles

ROCK HILL, Mo. — Staff at Katie's Pizza & Pasta is preparing for their last day of indoor service before new St. Louis County restrictions go into effect by preparing for sales outside of the building.

"As unfair as it seems, you have got to have a strategy because we have 130 employees," owner Katie Collier said, adding "we have to protect [them] and keep them working."

Collier says they're putting heaters at every outdoor table, focusing on creating frozen pizzas, and transitioning about a quarter of their employees into new roles.

"Instead of third-party delivery -- Postmates, etc -- we have turned the furloughed servers into independent contractors. They are now driving for our frozen pizza delivery all throughout the metro St. Louis area, as well as delivering our hot menu," Collier said.

At Russell's Cafe and Bakery in Fenton, co-owner Kate Ping had hoped to open the doors to a new, expanded dining room Monday, but restrictions were announced just days prior to the planned opening.

"I think that the first thing through our brains is 'OK what are we do, we have to be proactive,'" Ping said of the business she co-owns with her son.

Ping says they currently have 22 seats outside and about 30 indoors. So the second dining room -- with social distance between tables -- would have opened another 44 seats as the temperatures drop.

Now, Ping said they hope to use the space in about four weeks, when county leaders re-examine restrictions. Both small business owners hope the next announcement will bring more opportunities for business.

"Restaurants have an incredibly low profit-margin, so if you are going to make any money in the year it's going to be right now," Collier said.

RELATED: Group of St. Louis County restaurants threatening to sue over new dining room restrictions

RELATED: St. Louis County's new COVID-19 restrictions: What they are and how they affect you