These days, many Manhattan restaurants that depended on tourists and office workers are struggling to pay their rent, but they aren’t giving up hope.
Kevin Yan is not only the co-owner and manager of Dim Sum Palace, which has four locations across Manhattan. He loves eating at his restaurants as much as his customers.
“There are three Chinese restaurants around here,” said one customer, who said she eats at the Dim Sum Palace on W56 Street at least once a week, “but their service is the best! That’s why we keep coming back.”
The problem is there are far fewer customers showing up these days.
Due to the pandemic, tourists are now a rare sight in NYC.
And many other customers who used to travel into Manhattan to go to work are working from home.
The Big Apple now feels small and empty to Yan, who grew up in China, lived in Hong Kong for a few years, and then moved to New York more than 17 years ago.
Yan noticed few pedestrians as he drove from his restaurant in Times Square to check on another location in Midtown.
“Before, there were a lot of travelers and a lot of customers, people to see the Broadway show and go to Times Square and shopping,” said Yan, who added that the four Dim Sum Palace restaurants that he co-owns has cut its wait staff from 74 to less than 30 in response to the slower sales.
Yan said the location in pricey Times Square has seen business drop to just 25 percent from pre-pandemic levels, and while it is not clear when the pandemic will end or when tourism will pick up again, Yan remains grateful.
As he walked to his car to head home for the night, he was immediately reminded that several bars and restaurants across the street have shut down for good due to the pandemic.