DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – It’s a Friday night, ​but restaurateur Brandon Luke says it doesn’t quite feel like it.

“We’re going to lose customers permanently and that’s understandable, but it’s certainly frustrating,” he said.

Luke owns Smithy and Uno Mas off Henderson and The Woolworth in downtown Dallas and like most restaurant owners, he’s had his fair ​share of trials and tribulations the past few months.

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Smithy and Uno Mas restaurants in Dallas (credit: Google)

“Most businesses like us only have 30 days of capital and bills are due that we have no money for,” he said.

As restaurants were allowed to partially reopen in May, his restaurants still struggled.

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“Twenty-five percent really never worked for anyone. Fifty-percent was a glimmer of hope,” he said. “Where we’re at today is obviously a bigger light at the end of the tunnel.”

His restaurants can now be at 75% capacity and on Friday night,  Luke estimated his restaurants will reach about 60% capacity.

“Anyone that knows restaurants knows even operating at 100% is a very, very thin margin,” he said.

He said it will take a long time to recoup losses, ​but hopes this is a step in the right direction. ​

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​“We hope to build customer confidence over the next few weeks and months that we go through this, but let’s not mix words. We all know that COVID-19 is not going anywhere and we will experience as an industry a long-term effect from it,” he said.

Erin Jones