Smoky haze causing headaches for Bend-area restaurants

Big drop in business - and outdoor seating

Restaurants struggling amid smoky conditions

BEND, Ore. - People are not the only ones feeling the effects of the smoky conditions.

Restaurants are also seeing the smoke affect the sales they have done over the past few days.

The owner of Cabin 22, Mitch Cole, said he saw a big drop in business on Monday night.

“Probably 30 to 40 percent down form a typical Monday afternoon or evening,” Cole said Tuesday. 

Many other restaurant managers around Bend also said they also saw around a 30 percent decrease in business Monday.

Typically, in late summer, restaurants are extremely busy and patio seating is very popular.

A combination of heat and smoke has caused people to be less inclined to go out to eat -- and when they do, sit outside on a patio.

The general manager of Greg’s Grill, Andre Gregoriou, said this is the worst conditions he has seen in his time working at the restaurant.

“I don’t think that I’ve ever seen it this bad,” Gregoriou said. “I believe that, you know, in the 10 years or so that I have worked here, we’ve had bad days, but nothing as prolonged and pronounced as what we’ve had in the past few weeks.”

Restaurants are also are trying to be accommodating when it comes to their staff and making sure that they are okay to work in the smoky conditions.

Red Robin General Manager Stefanie Bradley said she has seen a drop in the number of people to be served out on the patio.

“We’ve just noticed that it’s just not as busy as you know we have expected,” Bradley said. “Usually we have three or four servers out here during the day. Now we just have one or two possibly.”

Restaurants say they are just trying to deal with the situation as it comes, and hope that the fires will be put out soon so the smoky conditions will lift.

One restaurant representative said they hope to see an increase in sales in September -- otherwise they may have to take a hard look at how they operate their business.

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