New study shows that everything about restaurants during COVID is awful, but especially the customers

Originally published at:


We bumped our food delivery tip to $15 from $10 when the original WFH began in March. We call it hazard pay for the drivers, although they probably pool tips.

The rest of that? I just want to say grrr.


So does anyone have a good theory about the ethical way to deal with restaurants during COVID times?

We’ve been ordering out of restaurants at about the same frequency as we would eat previously and tipping the same amount that we would tip a waiter, but we have not sat down or been unmasked. I guess my feeling is that we want those businesses to continue to exist and for as many people who rely on them for jobs to be able to continue to do so, but I don’t really have any other justification for our policy. We could simply not go at all in the name of extra COVID safety. We could only use delivery rather than me picking it up myself. We could not tip because the wait staff isn’t actually serving us. I don’t know.


I would love to say I’m surprised by this, but I’m not.

If you don’t believe in science, you’re not going to follow science-based guidelines to reduce your risk of getting a disease that you don’t believe in, because Trump told you it was bullshit.

I haven’t been in a sit-down restaurant since March.

All I can do is keep doing what I’m doing. Stay home. Wear a mask when I’m out. Limit trips to things that are absolutely necessary (weekly grocery trips). Get the vaccine when it’s available.


And this is why Mitch TheTurtle McConnell is holding out for employer immunity. Too many employers not doing what they should.


Chicago area restaurants have been loudly lobbying that they’re treated unfairly, and that they are taking stringent precautions. OK, even if the above stats disprove that, the problem is not the hosts, it’s the customers. The people most likely to eat out in these conditions are the ones least likely to have protected themselves in other situations.

I do agree that keeping gyms/salons/fitness centers open while closing restaurants is not sensible, though. Close 'em all, but provide state/local support, which means the state and local gov’ts need federal support, which Moscow Mitch and the Manchurian Canteloupe won’t do.


i agree. and they should provide $1200 per month to everyone else for the next few months until the vaccines are more widely available, too. but of course they won’t.


Heck, even before Covid I stopped going to restaurants during the colder months since I learned from working at Denny’s that so many staff members work while they are sick. In a perfect world they would take sick days but as I’m sure everyone knows, that isn’t always practical since these kind of places don’t give sick leave and will often guilt trip you into working anyways.


As individuals, the things you listed are fine. Order out from local places (esp. indies) instead of dining in, tip as you would for dining in, don’t be an arsehole like the ones in this report.

For restaurants to really survive, though, there has to be equitable government action and support in the form of relief on payroll and rent* (the two highest cost line items for any business, and absolutely critical for a risky business with razor-thin margins like a restaurant or bar).

I was just talking with a client whose business depends on the restaurant space. It’s pretty grim out there and he anticipates a lot of his customers going under in the next few months.


They also often can’t afford to take time off, because they don’t get PTO. If you need to make rent and feed your family, you do what you have to do.


How can a local government support restaurants while also trying to slow the spread of COVID?

Unlike the federal government, local governments can’t go into debt and/or print money.

I was stopping at some of my favorite spots for takeout, and trying to tip more than usual, but as COVID started spiking again I stopped getting takeout.


Us too.

Us too.

We’ve been picking up at the local Chinese place because they have got their shit right. The pizza place, not so much and they’ve essentially lost our business as a consequence. That being said…

It’s still a good idea to tip for takeout at any time because the waitstaff is still putting in a lot of effort to pack it up. And they’re struggling right now. I usually do 10%, but the aforementioned Chinese place I’ve been a little more liberal with than normal. If nothing else than just to offset some of the racist bullshit I hear them deal with while I’m waiting outside. But they’re also just really sweet community members and I want to see them thrive in this time.


Some restaurants seem better equipped to handle it than others. My regular Korean place has been so on-the-ball and efficient on every count that I suggested they set up a course in how to do it right for other restaurants.

Every sushi place I usually go to, in contrast, has failed miserably at dealing with the pandemic. I’ve pretty much given up on sushi for the duration at this point.


We’ve been regularly ordering take-out, but we go and pick it up ourselves. Haven’t used any of the food delivery apps because gig workers don’t get any paid sick leave so there have definitely been multiple cases of food app delivery drivers working while they know they are positive. The only places we get delivery from are a few local restaurants that use full time paid staff and provide sick leave for them.



That is EXACTLY why that sleazy bastard is holding out.

I had to threaten a lawsuit at my previous employer because they had a waiver from the governor of Pennsylvania to stay open and there were people including management walking around not wearing masks and often when wearing masks not covering their nose.

I worked in a constrained area and they created a walkway around my area but people still insisted on walking through my four foot wide walkway with no masks constantly.

I haven’t even bothered to look for new work because I know the kind of fucking idiots that I’m going to go back to work for in my industry in this area. I am not going to risk my life until I absolutely have no other choice because the people in my industry choose to be ignorant sociopaths.

I ordered a pizza the other day, and even though things aren’t good and I really can’t spare money for frivolous things, I tipped well- I used to be a delivery driver too so I know how hard it is to make a living even during normal times.

Delivery driver showed up with a mask on so I immediately tipped well.

Thank you nameless delivery driver!


Exactly. I should have mentioned that as well.


And these workers aren’t typically allowed sick time, and have low to no access to healthcare. Meaning they are lot more likely to spread it, and a lot more likely to die as a result.

Delivery drivers typically don’t participate in a service pool, and typically don’t pool among themselves. But with so many places that ordinarily don’t do delivery now offering it, it’s hard to tell. A lot of them have added delivery by having regular service staff cover that duty, to offer them some kind of work. But a lot of places I sell beer to aren’t running their regular tip pools cause they only employ one or two service staff currently, and there’s no need to pool.

If you’re getting delivery through a 3rd party service or app. That driver is an employee of a different company all together. And the restaurant is probably getting fucked over on the cost of your order.

Best idea is to order direct with the restaurant, have it delivered if they’re delivering themselves. Otherwise do curbside pickup.

See above.

If you must eat on site follow the local rules, and re-mask when staff are nearby.

Always tip. Tip for take out or delivery as if you were staying to eat and being served at a table. The staff serving you are usually the same waiters and bartenders that would be taking care of you in different circumstances. And these tips are their only income. Many restaurants are only open at all to try and keep some key staff paid.

New York (whole state) as well.

If you poke those lobby groups with a stick you find they’re restaurant associations who mostly represent large chain franchise groups, fast food companies and the like. With a few loud and politically motivated independents at the front so they can claim to represent the whole restaurant industry and/or workers rather than ownership.

Most independent restaurants are hoping for and stumping for another stimulus package and better social support for their workers. Along with collecting donations to help support unemployed workers and help prop up independent business. Including some really prominent people like Tom Colicchio.


This. I tip more for delivery just because the weather sucks. If someone is in a position where they have to drive pizzas around during a global crisis you can bet they’re going to come away from our house rewarded. Especially if they…

Which has thankfully been all of them so far.


Neither do most restaurant workers, sadly.

That’s awesome.


Yeah, that’s amazing. I don’t think anyone does that around here or anywhere I’ve worked in the industry. It’s certainly the exception.