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Honolulu's Move to Tier 3 Brings Modest Uptick For Zippy's

Kirk Hrabrich/Wikipedia/Creative Commons

Honolulu's first weekend under new regulations in the City's Tier 3 reopening plan resulted in a modest uptick in business for some restaurants. Zippy's says they saw a slight increase in business, and they are offering incentives for their employees to get vaccinated.

Kevin Yim, vice president of marketing at Zippy's Restaurants, says Tier 3 over the weekend was OK.

"Slightly better," Yim says. "It was definitely busier in our sit-down, dine-in restaurant side of the business."

Yim says their combined dine-in and take-out operation has weathered the pandemic fairly well, but employment at the company is still down about 25%, primarily due to the closure of Pomaikai Ballroom.

"If people don't have jobs, if they're not getting unemployment checks, they don't have the money to spend at a restaurant," Yim says. "Therefore, Zippy's, like all other restaurants, are having a tough go at it right now, and it's something we're trying to dig ourselves out of."

Currently, there are no occupancy limits in restaurants, just social distance requirements. Yim says, that may be great for some restaurants, but not for the booth-style configuration that many Zippy's have.

"We're still pretty much locked in at near 50% capacity, so that's just the nature of our booths," Yim says. "But we're very, very hopeful. Hawaii has been amazingly resilient."

Meanwhile, Zippy's is offering incentives for employees to get the COVID-19 vaccine. They can accrue points to receive a paid day off. This move to encourage vaccination is part of a national trend. McDonald's corporate restaurants are allowing employees 4 hours paid time off to get the shot. Target is also offering the time off and covering transportation costs.

Noe Tanigawa covered art, culture and ideas for two decades at Hawaiʻi Public Radio.
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