Many restaurants in Lacombe have faced the daunting task of reopening during the current COVID-19 pandemic and Leto’s Steakhouse and Bar is just one of the restaurants who have had to make sweeping changes to their operations
“The relaunch is officially today so we haven’t really got a sense of how things will go but there are guests that are very excited to come in and dine again. We got our staff together and had a preparation day cleaning, going over guidelines/regulations,” George Saganis said in an email to the Lacombe Express.
Saganis said there was apprehension amongst his staff to reopen given the circumstances, but he said they have taken precautions necessary including: having guests sanitize their hands upon entering; removing straws and garnishes from drinks; recommending reservations to avoid crowding; having all sides in separate packages; wrapping silverware in napkins; wearing masks and having specific staff running food and drinks to minimize contact.
“We have our reopening template completed and posted so guests can be informed on what to expect while dinning at Leto’s. There is a reduced menu and drink availability along with a two hour time limit for dine in,” he said.
Guests will also be asked about their risks of exposure to COVID-19 including their travel history, their symptoms and whether they have been exposed to someone with the virus.
“If they answer yes they won’t be allowed to enter. We have to protect everyone,” Saganis said.
Saganis said there are added costs under the new system including purchasing required PPE, but he is hopeful the Federal 75 per cent wage subsiy will mean he won’t have to lay off his staff again.
“Laying our staff off when this happened was tough and we don’t want to go through that again. The other cost adder is inventory, which is why we are running a reduced menu for food and drink. The cost of buying meat has increased substantially so we will only buy what makes sense at this time,” he said.
Guests will also notice changes to the steakhouse that are intended to help meet the 50 per cent capacity restriction. Tables have been spread apart and a barrier has been installed at the front to keep guests and servers separate while taking payment.
Saganis isn’t sure how eager the public will be to return to restaurants but he said the size of their space and the added cleaning routines, including increasing the sanitation of their door handles, surfaces, pay terminals, washrooms and iPads, should help people feel more comfortable at Leto’s.
“We hired back most of our staff and some would like to remain home for time being as they have young families, which we completely support. When they are ready to return their position will be there,” he said.