COLORADO SPRINGS — Governor Jared Polis signed an extension on a bill that allows restaurants to continue offering alcohol take-out for the next four years. Gov. Polis said booze-to-go served as a lifeline for restaurants during the pandemic, but even with this extension some restaurants are still struggling trying to stay afloat.
“You know, at one of my restaurants we are raising prices next week $5 to $6 a plate, something we haven’t done in five years,” local restaurant owner Joe Campana said.
Even at full capacity, shortages continue to affect the industry across the board, restaurants say employees are nowhere to be found and food costs and other supplies are soaring.
“We try to be fair about everything, so if we had to pay a huge amount more we may increase the prices a bit,” ICONS Owner John Wolfe said.
However, some places are already taking action. Places like Dos Santos and White Pie are including a fee on customers’ checks they say helps their back of house. 520 Street Car overhauled their menu to make it more cost-efficient and others are being forced to get rid of happy hour and some menu items completely.
“Our meat, for instance, fillet mignon went up from $11 a pound to $38 which we can’t sell that and we don’t even want to offer that,” Campana said.
Gov. Polis extension comes after the state stepped in and allowed to-go alcohol as a way to combat the effects of the pandemic.
“That was huge for us during COVID. We did a lot of to-go drinks and food a lot, especially during the winter,” Wolfe said.
Gov. Polis believes the extension is here to stay, but some owners say there are still some underlying costs.
“I mean it’s a good idea- but does it help… us not really. I mean we still have to pay for to-go stuff and no more liability by offering to-go drinks. It will be with us for a long time. You know in Cork and Cask, my bartender said I think in the last year we had two people ask for to-go drinks. So it’s not that big of a deal for us,” Campana said.