Reston, VA

The food service industry is in survival mode this winter, as COVID-19 cases remain high in Fairfax County and around the U.S.

Increased flexibility for outdoor dining operations, along with a greater emphasis on takeout and delivery services, helped sustain many restaurants during the summer and fall, but the chillier weather has made convincing people to eat or drink outside a trickier proposition.

The National Restaurant Association reported in December that sales had dropped by $2.2 billion — or 4% — in November from the previous month and were expected to decline further over the winter. Overall, the food service industry has seen a nearly 20% drop in sales compared to business pre-pandemic.

To rally public support, local restaurants, breweries, and cafes have turned to a range of promotions, from restaurant weeks to a #BundleUp campaign led by Caboose Brewing Company, which runs Caboose Tavern in Vienna and Caboose Commons in Merrifield, and the the Lake Anne Brew House in Reston.

Have you been patronizing restaurants and other food and beverage establishments this winter? Are you sticking with delivery and takeout orders, or are you willing to try dining outside — or even indoors?

Photo via Spencer Davis on Unsplash

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