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Springfield restaurant industry worries as cold temps take away appeal of outdoor seating

In a recent Missouri Restaurant Association Survey, 65% of restaurants said it’s unlikely they’ll be profitable in the next six months.
Published: Oct. 30, 2020 at 6:50 AM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - The colder temperatures will bring new challenges for local restaurants. Many have used outdoor seating options to make up for capacity limitations during the pandemic.

“With this weather, you just don’t find the people that want to eat out," said Bob Bonney, the CEO of the Missouri Restaurant Association. "There’s some things you can do with some heaters and things, but it’s just not the same, the days are shorter.”

To further paint a picture of struggle, in the most recent survey from the Missouri Restaurant Association done just this month, 52% of the restaurants surveyed said their operating costs are higher than they were before the pandemic. 65% of them said it’s unlikely they’ll be profitable in the next six months. 53% said it’s unlikely they’ll still be in business in six months if there isn’t additional relief.

One place feeling the sting is Mudhouse Coffee and Tea in downtown Springfield. They lost about 4-5 tables inside their cafe when capacity limits were put in place. The manager said being able to counteract that with tables and seating outside helped.

Jonathan Stratman also said there is a chance they’ll be able to get a heater for their parking space patio in the future, but right now they are just taking it day by day.

Stratman reminded people it’s important to keep shopping local and to be patient. “We are still in the middle of this and I know us as a small company are just now starting to kind of fully feel the ramifications of this year and how slow it’s been for business and just everything that we’ve had to adapt to," said Stratman. "My main message to people is just be patient with us.”

With the holiday season approaching, an easy way to support local businesses is getting gift cards.

KY3 reported in June 2020 that the City of Springfield waived sidewalk encroachment and applications fees for outdoor dining until the civil emergency ends, restaurants are back to full occupancy or until November 30, whichever comes first. Springfield City Council is expected to discuss a bill pertaining to permits and fees at the meeting on Monday, November 2, 2020.

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