Mother’s Day “To Go” packages, which were taken to designated parking spaces by employees, await pickup at Green Valley Grill.
A prominent Triad hospitality group is preparing for re-openings, but will take a wait-and-see approach before jumping in full throttle.
Dennis Quaintance, CEO of Quaintance-Weaver Restaurants and Hotels, said the O.Henry Hotel and adjoining Green Valley Grill in Greensboro will be the first QW properties to reopen after the shutdown is lifted.
QW properties also include Proximity Hotel and the adjacent Print Works Bistro and Lucky 32 Southern Kitchen in Greensboro as well as Lucky 32 in Cary.
Quaintance closed O.Henry and Proximity, Greensboro’s two most prestigious hotels, in mid-March. After inside dining was banned, QW kept its restaurants open for takeout for a few days before closing them.
Quaintance said the hotels would not reopen before the restaurants. He estimated that guests in one of every four hotel rooms occupied at O.Henry and Proximity dine each day at Green Valley Grill and Print Works Bistro. He said the hotels also generate business for nearby Lucky 32 on Westover Terrace.
“It doesn’t make sense if the restaurants are not open,” Quaintance told Triad Business Journal. “It’s like they’re joined at the hip.”
Gov. Cooper’s shutdown order on inside dining at restaurants runs until at least May 22. Cooper has not yet announced whether he’ll extend the order or allow Phase II re-openings including dining rooms to begin. Contiguous states South Carolina, Tennessee and Georgia — with Republican governors — have allowed dining rooms in their states to re-open, at least in some form. Virginia has not reopened its dining rooms.
“We won’t necessarily open the first day we are allowed,” Quaintance said, citing preparations that will be needed. “We want to see what’s happening the first four or five days after the opening.”
Green Valley Grill recently returned to offering food to go for lunch and dinner each day. For Mother’s Day, 26 spots were set up in the parking lot whether customers could park to receive their orders.
By designating spots in the parking lot with numbers, Green Valley Grill made social distancing more effective.
Quaintance said the food-to-go operation was a way to put employees back to work and prepare them for full-scale re-opening when that’s possible.
“You don’t want to lose your chops,” he said. “We wanted to bring back some of the team.”
Quaintance said he’ll monitor the level of demand in deciding when to reopen Proximity, Print Works and Lucky 32.
“We’re swimming in a sea of ambiguity,” he said.
The restaurants, he said, would probably open with a limited menu, and build back up to normalcy.
If the shutdown continues or business doesn’t rebound significantly, Quaintance said the company has some options to increase revenues, including selling their pastries for off-premises consumption.
Quaintance said QW’s low level of debt has helped it weather the pandemic.
QW was quick to furlough 600 employees, making them eligible for unemployment benefits. Quaintance said he and wife Nancy donated $100,000 to an employee relief fund and partner Mike Weaver also donated $100,000.