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October 14, 2020  

Winter Is Coming: Will Restaurants (and Customers) Adapt to Help Businesses Survive?

October 14, 2020

The pandemic has obviously been brutal on the economy, and restaurants and coffee shops have been especially hard-hit. During the warm, dry summer months, outdoor dining proved to be a lifeline for many establishments. But as we head into fall and winter, when colder temperatures and wetter weather make dining outside more challenging, many restaurant owners are worried about their business and their employees. According to the Washington Post, between 40% to 85% of restaurants (depending on who’s doing the estimating) don’t expect to survive the next six months. Celebrity chef Andrew Zimmern warned in August of a restaurant “extinction event.”

To discuss all this, Abby Kinney—an urban planner in Kansas City and the host of Upzoned—invited a special guest onto the podcast. Kevin Klinkenberg is an urban designer, writer, and the executive director of Midtown KC Now. (He last joined the podcast in May, in a kind of Part 1 to this episode called “Is Your City Willing to Be Flexible So Small Businesses Can Survive?”) Together, Abby and Kevin talk about how restaurants will adapt (again) for the fall and winter, why business owners aren’t banking on a new federal stimulus, and how the challenges of COVID-19 are compelling restaurants to find new models and new collaborations.

Then in the Downzone, Kevin recommends an article called “Why You Should Quit the News?”—as well as a new novel by his brother. And Abby recommends two recent documentaries: The Social Dilemma and a fascinating look at the world of fungi.

Additional Show Notes