July 2, 2020

Restaurant Closings Inflict Collateral Damage on Other Businesses

Orwashers Bakery, one of the handful of independently owned bakeries in New York City that sells fresh bread to restaurants, has already laid off 20 of its 110 employees. Wholesale revenue, most of it from restaurants and the distributors that supply them, “was the economic engine of the whole company,” Keith Cohen, the owner, said. Since early March, he said, “it has been in a progressive downward spiral.”

In any other week, Orwashers would have been making daily deliveries of its tender but sturdy hamburger buns to restaurants like Upland, Superiority Burger and the Dutch. Its Rustica and Campagna loaves, familiar by sight if not by name to many New Yorkers, would have been waiting at restaurant doors in the morning.

A few fast-casual lunch spots, including By Chloe, Chopt and Freshco, are still serving some Orwashers bread to their pickup and delivery customers. Many of their locations, though, cater heavily to office workers who have now been ordered to stay at home.

For many vendors, the closings could not have come at a worse time of year. January and February are two of the slowest months for eating out. New spending lags, and old invoices aren’t paid even at the end of the 30-day terms that most restaurants demand.

It’s the nature of the beast,” Mr. Cohen said. “So as a small wholesaler, you get killed.”

Outside the wholesale business, Orwashers sells bread at local farmers’ markets and in stores, including two of its own. Mr. Cohen is throwing all his energy into retail now, like many others who deal in edible products.

Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/24/dining/restaurant-suppliers-coronavirus.html

Speak Your Mind