Carnevor pauses curbside service due to surge in beef price

Shaikh 'incredibly concerned' amidst post Safer at Home operations

Last updated on May 14th, 2020 at 08:40 am

After reopening for about a month, Carnevor in downtown Milwaukee has closed its doors again in an attempt to cut its losses.

The upscale steakhouse on North Milwaukee Street served up its last curbside to-go order on Friday and has suspended operations until further notice, after operating costs became too high for limited sales capacity.

“We really had great support, we were doing really good numbers, but you still have to weigh in the fact that even doing curbside two days a week, we’re only doing 15% of what we (typically) do on a weekly basis,” said co-owner Omar Shaikh in an interview with BizTimes Milwaukee.

Carnevor reopened in early April after being closed for three weeks due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

For a steakhouse, a major problem was the recent spike in beef prices. The coronavirus pandemic has hit the country’s meat-processing plants, infecting thousands of workers and forcing factories to limit operations or shut down.

Shaikh was told by vendors that market volatility is expected to keep meat prices high for a while, but the question is how long.

“We’re just going to take it day-to-day, week to week and see what happens,” he said. 

He’s taking the same approach to reopening his restaurant. Carnevor’s management team this week has been working on plans to safely reopen the dining room, which includes a limit on capacity.

That’s a harsh reality for restaurants already in survival mode.

“We’ll follow whatever guidelines that are set forth,” said Shaikh. “We understand the severity of the situation, but we’re incredibly concerned because with limiting the amount of people we can have through the doors, it’s going to be tough to even cover our bills.”

Shaikh said he’s cautiously optimistic, but ongoing uncertainty surrounding COVID-19 and keeping the public safe while reopening businesses makes for a scary time for restaurants everywhere.

“I don’t think that restaurants are getting the type of support they need… I hope that all can make it through,” he said. “There are so many great restaurateurs and operators here and I just don’t see how a lot of them will make it through.”

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Maredithe Meyer
Maredithe Meyer started as an intern reporter at BizTimes in summer 2015. She currently covers entertainment, sports, tourism and restaurants. In May 2017, she graduated with a journalism degree from Marquette University where she worked as an in-depth projects reporter for the Marquette Wire and Marquette Tribune.