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Amarillo experts talk about more restaurants wanting to open, despite pandemic and worker shortages

Published: Aug. 3, 2021 at 6:31 PM CDT
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AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) - Eating and drinking establishments options could be expanding in our area.

According to Amarillo’s Public Health District, requests and renewals of operational permits in the food industry are on the rise.

The District’s Food Hygiene program, which is in charge of licensing any place that serves food to the public, has a little more than 1,800 licensed facilities in Potter and Randall counties.

The highest number of active permits since the Health District was established in the 70′s.

“We were anticipating quite a number of facilities going out of business,” said Anthony Spanel, environmental health director at City of Amarillo. “With all of the restrictions the government had placed upon those industries, we were in preparation for 20, 30 percent loss in that regulated industry and it didn’t. "

In fact, quite the opposite happened. At the peak of the pandemic, the program saw a five percent increase.

Despite the continuous coronavirus pandemic, retail commercial real estate brokers are noticing an uptick in entrepreneurs interested in signing retail and restaurant space.

“Especially West Texas, including Amarillo is extremely busy right now,” said Justin Kite, retail specialist at Coldwell Banker Commercial. “If you look at Soncy and Georgia those are both very hot areas, you can see construction, the market is very active.”

One of the businesses expanding in our area is Jimmy’s Eggs, during a phone call they said, although the pandemic has brought challenges with delays in construction and worker shortage, there was never any hesitation in opening a second location.

“There are a handful of businesses traits that strive throughout the pandemic,” said Kite. “You’re seeing those businesses, whether it’ll be a quick serve restaurant or retail, we’re seeing them open multiple locations and I don’t think that’s not going to slow down.”

Spanel says most of the increased permit requests are coming from traditional restaurants.

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