To say as a restaurant we are one of the lucky ones during this pandemic is an understatement. Our business model of being seasonal and all outdoor has made it so that we were able to survive much better than most. Still, not being allowed to open until mid-June in 2020 and 2021 was painful. Missing 6 weeks might not seem like a lot but to us, that was 30% of our year since we are typically only open 20 weeks a season. People always ask us what we do in the winter. It takes us about 4 weeks to close and another 4 to physically open. Jan-March are spent hiring, updating menus, menu design and countless other details that you might not notice as a customer but are important.
Reservations Had you told us in 2019 that GTs would take reservations and have hosts to seat you, we would not have believed it. In Covid our “seat yourself” model no longer worked. We HAD to ensure that every table was fully sanitized between customers every time. Taking reservations, having hosts at the door and bussers to sanitize the tables became our new normal. To our surprise, it made much more sense as a business and many customers appreciated it. Hosts and reservations are here to stay.
Live Music Live music has been a staple at GTs since we opened in 1993. When we took over as owners in 2009, it was our goal to become “more restaurant, less bar”. Some of you may not have noticed but our large neon roof sign was changed a few years ago to read GTs On The Beach where it used to read GTs Beach Bar & Grill. The word “bar” was purposely removed. Covid has made us all restaurant, no bar. There are so many factors involved in us not hosting live music as we move forward into our new normal. We were incredibly surprised by how much happier our staff were because they were well rested. Closing by 11pm nightly means no one is there until 3am cleaning up after the last customers and waiting for the band to pack up. The difference was dramatic. Every year, the liability and insurance on greater alcohol sales gets higher. Do you know that each year when we renew our insurance, we are asked to provide exactly what percentage of our sales are food vs. alcohol? It’s a fact and the higher the alcohol, the higher the insurance. When it was a beautiful night and the crowds came in, bands were amazing. What most customers didn’t see were the long nights when the weather wasn’t great or the band didn’t draw. There is nothing more depressing nor a greater waste of money than plugging through until the end of the night when you have few or no customers. These nights of revenue loss, far outweighed the bonus sales on the great nights. During the day, just as many customers who enjoyed the ambiance of live music actually told us they preferred us without. They came to enjoy the food, the company and the great view and did not want their conversation interrupted by live music. As a business, to add the expense and hassle of setting up and tearing down bands as well as giving up the tables so that we have enough room for a band, no longer makes sense. For all of these reasons, GTs will move forward as the best possible restaurant we can be and we will close by 11pm at the latest every night without offering live music.
Volleyball Finally, volleyball has also been a staple feature of GTs. While it might not seem that groups of people playing volleyball has any impact on our ability to be successful, there’s one simple reason we will no longer be providing volleyball nets. Parking. What’s different about volleyball players is that if 8 people come to play, they often bring 8 cars and use up 8 parking spaces for several hours. We’ve had many customers call and cancel their reservation at the last minute. They tell us, “We’re here but we can’t find a place to park so we’re leaving”. With 8 courts, that’s a potential of 64 or more parking spots being used by people who are often not our customers. For this reason, it no longer makes sense for GTs to maintain the volleyball nets or host volleyball tournaments. We hope the removal will provide more parking spaces and take just a little bit of pressure off of the parking lots.
Beach Extension Finally, we are beyond grateful that the municipality allowed us to extend our patio onto the beach during the pandemic but this will not be staying permanently. Our kitchen is only large enough to handle our current footprint and the toll on the staff to serve tables on the sand, often in scorching heat cannot be understated. Once tables no longer have to be 6′ apart, we will no longer have tables on the beach. We are so grateful to you, our customer. THANK YOU for supporting us through this pandemic and we hope this letter helps you to understand why we had to change and why some of those changes have now become permanent. We very much look forward to serving you lunch or dinner for many years to come.
Reservations are recommended but not required! Reservations for 6 people or less are taken ONLINE ONLY (no phone reservations) by clicking the link below a maximum of 14 days in advance. A VERY limited number of reservations for 7 people or more can be made by emailing [email protected] a minimum of 24 hours in advance.RESERVE ONLINE