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Tallahassee restaurants look ahead to weekend dine-in demand

Posted at 6:08 PM, May 05, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-05 18:08:05-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — Restaurants are applying what they learned after Monday's reopening.

Many saying the biggest challenge is the crowds, and Island Wing Company is looking ahead to a busy night.

Restaurants across the city say they knew people were eager to get back to normal but they weren't expecting the crowds they had Monday.

With patio space and about a quarter of the tables indoors ready to go, restaurants like Island Wing Company and Food Glorious Food say they're ready to roll with the punches.

Doors opened up Monday at 25 percent capacity inside and social distancing outside.

By dinner time, customers filled the open tables at Island Wing Company.

The restaurant's general manager, Katie Weiss, says luckily, the limited capacity seating made day one flow more smoothly.

"It is an overwhelming amount and influx of sales, that most of our staff that hasn't been here for six weeks and has some rust to dust off," said Weiss. "It's been a bit of a new learning curve and getting everyone back on board. We have orders that are being packed to go by habit and they're supposed to be dine in."

The general manager says she's pleased with how the staff handled the first day of reopening, but there are always kinks to work out.

The team continued to fill to-go orders at a higher rate than before the governor ordered the inside of restaurants to shut down.

It's not just Island Wing reflecting.

Madison Social posted a note to social media Tuesday saying, in part, "We huddled last night and this morning to make more changes to our patio seating. We reduced the amount of seats and opened up for more spacing between tables."

To keep up with the people calling about reopening, Food Glorious Food even started taking reservations.

"Disposable menus, we have sanitizer stations everywhere, offering it to customers coming in," said Kevin Stout, who works at Food Glorious Food. "You don't have to touch anything. You can even pay over the phone now."

Each restaurant now saying the big challenge ahead is dealing with the weekend crowds.

"The changes aren't anything that we won't be able to get together by Friday night, so that people can go back to enjoying their weekends here," Weiss said.

Most restaurants are still planning to do take out orders as well to feed the people not quite ready to dine out.