Restaurants making steady comeback
After testing the waters under added restrictions, those at local restaurants say they are optimistic that patrons are continuing to eat out.
“We’ve seen an increase in sales since we opened again, but others have wanted to wait to come in and we respect that and are keeping our delivery with a $25 minimum,” said Sergio Budar, general manager at Tampico Mexican Restaurant in Marietta. “Delivery was good before the governor allowed us to reopen inside.”
Budar said before the pandemic, delivery was reserved for catering orders for 10 or more people, but to maintain business, the model changed throughout the end of winter and early spring this year.
“At first we were doing Door Dash (an app with independently-contracted drivers) but they take a lot out of the sale and that’s hard for a small business so we pulled our people that were on unemployment, our old servers and asked if they wanted to deliver,” said Budar. “They’ve been a big help to us and it helps them, too. We’re still adapting and trying to follow the new distancing and that means it takes a little longer but customers so far have understood.”
Part of the changes as patrons have been allowed to eat indoors and on the patio have included where one waits before being seated.
“If it’s nice outside we ask them to wait outside, if it’s raining we try to take their number and they can wait in the car,” he added. “It may take a little longer but that’s also because we’re doing extra cleaning.”
At Third Street Deli, which reopened this week with carryout and delivery, the same optimism for a “new normal” is shared.
“It’s crazy, we’ve been super busy,” said Jen Tinkler, manager of the deli, on Wednesday. “We don’t even open eat-in until Tuesday, we just reopened for carryout, the window and delivery Monday and breakfast has been a big hit.”
Delivery from the deli is limited to businesses within a general radius of Marietta.
“We’re doing delivery for $20 or more to businesses right now. Our delivery radius as far as Eramet to Dimex and we do a little north of the city, too.”
Larry Sloter, owner of The Busy Bee, which is scheduled to reopen June 16, said he hopes to continue delivery of milk, eggs and bake kits, but that the service would first be dependent on how quickly foot traffic returns to the restaurant.
“Our challenge is paying a delivery person to just hang out,” explained Sloter. “I just hope when we see that light (at the end of the tunnel) that the customers return.”
Janelle Patterson may be reached at email@example.com.
At a glance:
• Local small restaurants opening up under tighter health restrictions due to coronavirus are seeing steady rise in local support.
•Delivery will be maintained for some restaurants while others wait to make the call until seeing how traffic flow presents indoors.
Source: Times research.