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Indy's restaurant servers ready to see tips again as city reopens

Posted at 9:47 PM, May 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-20 21:47:33-04

INDIANAPOLIS — In restaurants, many servers survive off of tips. Lately, because of the COVID-19 pandemic some have been struggling to get by.

"Unfortunately, we did have to furlough our whole service team, cooks but we are looking forward to bringing them back in phases," Desmond Sutherland, general manager of Weber Grill, said. "We are looking forward to the bigger dining space outside."

At Weber Grill in downtown Indianapolis, Sutherland is looking forward to Friday and the launch of outdoor seating along Illinois Street.

"During this time we are doing carryout and delivery," Sutherland said. "We are using our third party to get that out to our guest with gratuity and tips coming in we are seeing them to be good."

Sutherland said he thinks that good will turn into much better now that they are doing patio seating.

"Guests are very generous. They want to support Weber Grill and the restaurants downtown," Sutherland said. "We are happy that we are open and keeping lights on for our guests."

Weber Grill won't be paying their staff more, but they are expecting with room for 50 to dine on the patio they'll be able to get tips rolling again and gradually bring back all employees.

"I am going to rent tables and chairs, a big tent," Sutherland said. "We will have our dining room outside. We will be at 50 percent capacity outside with social distancing in mind."

RTV6 did a poll on our page to see if people are ready to start dining out again or if it's just too soon. Results show for the most part people are split on the topic.

"Our job is to put money in their pocket," Sutherland said. "Our job is to make sure they are successful coming off furlough and that's my goal for my whole team."

At Weber Grill, they are hoping to change the minds of those who are skeptical and get back to full staff sooner rather than later while keeping customer safety the number one priority.

Weber Grill will have sanitation stations set up. They also plan to social distance and follow all CDC guidelines. Guests will be allowed to use the indoor restroom one person at a time.