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Restaurants adjust as temperatures force guests back inside

Local News

OSHKOSH, Wis, (WFRV) — With temperatures dropping and flurries in the forecast, restaurants have started to see a decline in customers over the past couple of weeks.

“[We] definitely see a decline in people coming out since it’s cold and you can’t really sit outside anymore,” Scott Coleman, General Manager of Mahoney’s Restaurant and Bar told Local 5 Monday.

At Mahoney’s, fireside seating is an option.

“Some people still sit out by our fire at night. They feel more comfortable outside,” Coleman said.

But as winter approaches, things are going to change.

“We have to adjust staffing and how we order food and everything,” Coleman explained.

Close by at Becket’s, patio dining has also sharply dropped off.

“We’re gonna keep doing everything we can to keep everybody as safe as possible,” Owner Kris Larson said, “I know it’s not everybody who wants to go out at this point.”

At Becket’s that has meant touch-free menus and capacity limits, and something new in the air ducts: “We installed UV and Hydro-Peroxide Inline Purifiors that allegedly clean the air and surfaces all the time, which is a great thing to have,” Larson explained.

He added that the purifiers will improve the indoor air quality overall in the restaurant.

Even with the new additions to the interior, guests are welcome to sit outside.

“If you want to sit outside, we won’t close that patio until it’s too snowy to be out there,” Larson said.

But with fewer nice days ahead, restaurants have to adjust.

“We’re going to push the to-go business, we’re going to look at partnering with some of the delivery services,” Coleman said of Mahoney’s strategy moving forward.

According to Coleman, as the pandemic continues, they’re finding new ways to do business.

“Definitely gotta get creative,” he said. “Lots of people are not comfortable eating inside the restaurant with other customers.”

The City of Oshkosh did allow restaurants to apply for temporary permits to expand their outdoor dining services, but that program ended October 2nd.

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