New York dining halls are still closed. This is the best restaurant in Olive Garden

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Before the pandemic, Times Square in New York was teeming with office workers, spectators, and tourists. But pandemic restrictions have forced Broadway into obscurity and dining rooms to remain closed. New York City has banned indoor dining since March and plans to start allowing indoor dining at a maximum capacity of 25% by the end of the month.

The changes were disastrous for the Times Square Olive Garden, which is located on West 47th Street, between Broadway and 7th Avenue. The restaurant, which opened in 1994, is three stories tall, has two kitchens and can seat around 500 people. Over the past few years he has sold New Years packages for hundreds of dollars per person.

The restaurant was averaging more than $ 15 million in sales a year before the pandemic, or about $ 300,000 a week, the company said on a call from an analyst discussing the company’s quarterly results Thursday. Now the restaurant is making about $ 17,500 a week in sales.

“This is our best restaurant in the Olive Garden system,” Eugene Lee, CEO of Darden Restaurants, which owns Olive Garden, said on the call. He added that the weekly deficit “can probably be hard for you to believe.”

Casual restaurants, which have long been heralded as places to visit in person, suffered during the pandemic. Sizzler USA, one of the nation’s leading casual restaurant chains, filed for bankruptcy this week. Chuck E. Cheese’s parent company, CEC Entertainment, filed for bankruptcy in June, blaming the financial strain caused by Covid-19 and the prolonged shutdowns of its entertainment centers following home orders.

Darden (DRI), which also owns Longhorn Steakhouse, Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen and other brands, also struggled.

In the three months that ended Aug. 30, sales at Olive Garden restaurants open at least one year have fallen about 28% from the same period last year, the company said Thursday. Darden’s total sales for the quarter fell about 28% to $ 1.53 billion for the quarter.

The company is hoping that easing indoor dining restrictions will help it bounce back, and not just in Times Square.

“Capacity restrictions continue to limit [Olive Garden’s] High level sales, particularly in key high volume markets like California and New Jersey, where dining rooms were closed for most of the quarter, ”said Lee.

“California’s comeback is going to be huge,” he added. “California is a big market for us with high volumes. In California, some counties have restricted indoor dining, while others allow limited capacity.

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