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This week's top 10: Thomas Keller's French Laundry reopens dine-in, the state of the restaurant workforce

How Atlas Restaurant Group CEO Alex Smith is expanding his hotel restaurant portfolio, the challenge of getting restaurant workers to come back and more trending stories

This week, some well-known restaurants began to reopen doors for dine-in while the jobs report showed the restaurant industry still taking the biggest COVID-19 hit.

Thomas Keller's French Laundry in Yountville, Calif. reopened recently, offering meals at three indoor tables. The restaurant is offering Chef's Tasting menus for up to $850 a person. 

French Laundry guests can also book an outdoor table on the restaurant’s patio for pre-pandemic rate of $350 per person — which, of course, must be paid for in advance to book through Tock. For the $850 per person seats (for parties of up to eight), the restaurant will have one table in each of the three dining rooms, which restaurant officials promised on Instagram would be “a fully immersive and privatized experience.”

Last month, Keller announced the permanent closing of two of his restaurants in New York City, TAK Room and Bouchon Bakery.

Late last week, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics released its latest jobs report, showing the still-bleak outlook for the industry hit hardest by the pandemic. In March and April, the restaurant industry lost over six million jobs due to the pandemic and, while 133,600 jobs were added in the month of August, the industry is still 2.5 million jobs below pre-pandemic levels.

“Staffing decisions have never been more difficult for restaurant operators,” said Bruce Grindy, chief economist and vice president at the National Restaurant Association, “as they have to weigh uneven customer traffic in a challenging economy, a waning outdoor dining season in parts of the country and the potential for renewed on-premises dining restrictions if COVID-19 case levels begin to rise.”

See what else was trending this week on Restaurant Hospitality.

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