HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Many Oahu restaurants are still struggling with slow sales nearly three weeks after they were allowed to resume dine-in service.
Sales are down about 70% at Pounders Restaurant, which is in the Polynesian Cultural Center's Hukilau Marketplace in Laie.
The visitor attraction, which temporarily shut down in March, hopes to reopen on September 1.
“We’re probably running with about one-third of the staff that we used to run with because of the sales being so low,” said Greg Maples, PCC’s director of restaurant services.
Maples, who is also the chairman of the Hawaii Restaurant Association, said tourism is desperately needed in order for eateries to survive.
"There are restaurants out there, many restaurants, probably the majority of them that just will not make it," he said. "We are about to change the face of what Hawaii restaurants look like on all the islands if we don't get open quick."
Big City Diner serves mainly local customers, but sales at its five locations are still way below normal.
Owner Lane Muraoka believes that many people are still concerned about their safety and their financial situation.
He's waiting for more sales data to determine if the dine-in service is profitable.
"Does the additional cost that you have to bring on in to do dine-in, does it make sense with the additional sales? Are you going to lose money because you have to bring on more staff to do dine in?" wondered Muraoka.
Some eateries waited to reopen their dining rooms until just recently.
Side Street Inn’s Kapahulu location welcomed guests back inside on Monday.
There's a temperature check at the door and reservations are highly recommended since only half the usual seating is available due to social distancing.
"Any business in general, to operate at 50% capacity, what a challenge. We've been extremely fortunate and blessed to have such a great following that our takeout and curbside service has really, really helped," said general manager Troy Antonelis.
Renovations at the original Hopaka Street restaurant were wrapping up when the pandemic struck. The business hopes to reopen that location in the near future.