Creating a Safety Net for Restaurants During Cold Weather

Capital One is expanding its support of the dining industry to help restaurants navigate challenging winter months

Restaurants throughout the country are grappling with the challenge of operating during the winter season as temperatures drop and many places limit indoor and outdoor dining options. Compounded by months of decreased revenue as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, many fear the forecast for the dining industry is cold, cold, cold.

In an early December note to the U.S. House of Representatives, The National Restaurant Association described the restaurant industry as being "in an economic free fall” as over 110,000 establishments — 17% of all U.S. restaurants — have closed permanently since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • The group says 83% of full-service eateries expect their sales to dip in the coming quarter.
  • 58% say they expect to continue furloughs and layoffs in that time.

Continuing our ongoing support of the dining industry during the pandemic, Capital One is providing funding for over 30 restaurants across multiple cities to help address immediate winterization needs so they can keep their doors open while maintaining safety protocols.

“Restaurants are anchors in the communities in which we live and work, which is why we’re providing them support so they can better access the tools they need to survive these difficult winter months,” says Monica Bauder, Head of Cardholder Access at Capital One. “At Capital One, the dining industry has always been an important community to us and we want to continue to find ways to help them through this difficult time.”

Capital One’s support to Cotogna, an italian restaurant located in San Francisco's historic Jackson Square, has come in the form of helping this eatery safely replicate its indoor dining experience outdoors at nearly its full capacity.

Matt Cirne, Cotogna’s beverage director, says that Capital One’s funding afforded the restaurant with the opportunity to build an outdoor wooden structure with a roof and install heaters at each table. Cotogna has populated this area with olive trees between each table to serve as barriers and create an intimate feel for guests.

Additionally, that funding has enabled Cotogna to replicate the familiar appearance of its traditional menus onto disposable paper menus.

“We are really committed to making guests feel safe and comfortable and want them to feel like they’re eating at the Cotogna they know and love,” Cirne said. “Having partners like Capital One that are willing to be creative and really help restaurants navigate the uncertainty that lies ahead is crucial.” 

Shelter from the Storm 

Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Capital One has supported the dining industry to address its rapidly changing needs.

Efforts include assisting The Power of 10 to bring restaurant workers back to work and support food access to communities in need. Created by Washington D.C.-based chef Erik Bruner-Yang, the initiative operates on simple math: for $10,000 a week, a restaurant can employ 10 full-time staff and make 1,000 well-balanced meals for frontline healthcare workers, older adults and other community groups. Through Capital One’s support, over 55,000 meals have been served and 280 jobs supported.

Bruner-Yang also helps manage ABC Pony and Maketto — two dining staples in Washington, D.C. that have received support from Capital One during the COVID-19 pandemic. While neither restaurant’s indoor dining rooms are currently open, Capital One is partnering with Seven Rooms to provide complimentary table reservation services to help restaurants, including those managed by Bruner-Yang, communicate with guests when they are able to safely reopen.

“It’s going to be crucially important to have constant communication with our guests once it’s safe to reopen our indoor dining rooms to ensure that each person feels comfortable,” Bruner-Yang said. “Capital One’s sponsorship of our transition to using Seven Rooms as our management system will help keep our guests up-to-date in real time about our COVID-19 safety practices and other important updates.”

Helping Independent Restaurants 

Capital One is also supporting Get Shift Done, an organization that is paying and connecting hospitality workers adversely impacted by COVID-19 with nonprofits in need of critical workers to pack food boxes and provide hunger relief to communities across the country. 

In September, we hosted a free three-part webinar series for restaurant owners and others in the dining industry, as part of the James Beard Foundation’s Open for Good Initiative, which is designed to help independent restaurants navigate the COVID-19 pandemic and rebuild to thrive in the long term.

As the official bank and credit card partner of The James Beard Foundation, Capital One associates were able to share information about cash flow, business credit, human resources, social media, and public relations to approximately 300 members of the dining community.

Learn more about how Capital One is helping build thriving communities.

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