Throughout all the hardship that COVID-19 caused for restaurants, most remain optimistic. This was a real test for restaurants being in uncharted waters.
Restaurants partnering with the community were and still are at an all-time high. Communities are also reciprocating that support back to them. So, we reached out to some of our customers to hear their stories throughout COVID. It’s nothing short of incredible what restaurants have faced at this time.
The struggles that they faced led them to success. Everything from feeding the community to improvised markets, these stories cover them all.
Here’s are 13 of our customer’s stories:
Fat City Brew & BBQ Stockton, California
Fat City Brew & BBQ starts their story off by thanking their amazing customer base. Right away they decided to set up a full drive-through in their back parking lot and it worked so well! They wanted to make the most out of this time and try creative things they never had the chance to do.
They began family meals and inventive themed burgers. Burgers like “The Quarantine Burger” and “Tiger King Burger” became very popular. Being able to see their customers enjoy them so much was the ultimate reward.
To use all the space they once had, they set up an “Essential Items Store.” Guests loved the fact they could order meals and get much-needed items at the same time. Fat City Brew & BBQ did it right. Proactive, creative, and supportive of their community.
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We are loaded up and heading to @calivirgin_olive_oil to deliver these amazing meals! Thanks to all of you who ordered! We hope you love them. . . . . #fatcitybrewbbq #calivirginoliveoil #bbq #oliveoil #wine #visitlodi #visitstockton #stocktonca #lodica #supportsmallbusiness #supportlocal #community
Life Bistro Atlanta, Georgia
Life Bistro opened in February of 2020 right before the COVID-19 crisis hit. They started their journey by spending 4 months building out a place for fine dining. Prepared for their customers to be able to come in-doors and in an expansion mode.
After the shift to off-premise dining, they enjoyed curbside pickup the most. It was very rewarding for them to see their guests eat in the car because their food is so good it couldn’t wait.
A special thing to note is that Life Bistro was able to hire and bring on more staff, aiding those unemployed. They shared that before COVID, it was hard to find the staff so they were grateful they could help.
Dawn to Dusk Cafe Glassboro, New Jersey
Dawn to Dusk Cafe admits that the COVID-19 experience was not easy for them. They had to learn how to adapt to a new environment and struggled not seeing their regulars.
But, their town of Glassboro stepped up for them. The town introduced “Boro Bucks” where residents buy between $5-$50 and then the town will match it. So if they buy $50 then they will have $100 to spend over the summer at their favorite local business. Dawn to Dusk Cafe is grateful for the town wanting to stimulate the economy in this uncertain time.
Social media has also helped attract new customers allowing for more catering orders. They are helping to feed local families and healthcare workers. Although this is not what they expected in their first year open, they remain grateful.
Bon Vino’s Bistro & Bakery Sunnyside, Washington
Bon Vino’s has been completely taken away from the generosity of their community. Their loyal customers ordered dinners for takeout and fresh-baked cinnamon rolls daily. Some even bought many gift cards for future spending. Many community supporters also stepped up for first responders. They bought dinners and treats for our firefighters, police officers, and educators. “What a great community we live in!”
Freddy’s Cafe Houston, Texas
Freddy’s Cafe’s story showcases how they were “wholeheartedly” supported by their community. Their customers would donate and buy gift cards for hundreds of dollars to help them out. Others would come in almost daily to show their support.
The COVID-19 crisis showed Freddy’s Cafe how incredible their community is. As much as they take care of their customers, at this time, their customers have been doing the same for them. Freddy’s Cafe couldn’t be more grateful for them.
Take 3 Burgers Fresno, California
Take 3 Burgers has been spreading positivity during the COVID crisis. A snowball effect of donations from friends has allowed them to give away free food. They have been delivering to essential workers in the Central Valley. These donations have allowed them to keep their 3 employees working, and make ends meet. Learn more here.
Rose & Louis Carmel, Indiana
Rose & Louis coffee shop had the opportunity to share a story that sticks out and for good reason. They received a phone call from a customer asking if she and some friends could sponsor a delivery. These friends wanted to send food and coffee to the grocery store workers up the street from the cafe. Rose & Louis coffee shop loved this! You can tell they were trying to make a difference with money from their own pockets. One customer supported all the way from Colorado.
The city sponsored them and gave them the opportunity to help healthcare workers. They were honored to be a part of this, delivering large orders to local hospital workers.
Jitterz Coffee Moreno Valley, California
Jitterz Coffee is fortunate to survive this crisis due to their amazing customers. Since their doors closed, all their traffic went straight to the drive-thru. They have been active in the community as well with their “Rally of Goodness.”
They partnered together with community members to show appreciation to first responders. Jitterz Coffee truck traveled to over 15 cities to give away free coffee and breakfast. Their involvement during COVID-19 has been nothing short of incredible.
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Our Rally of Goodness continues tomorrow! We will be in North Shore, Mecca, Thermal, Coachella, and La Quinta providing breakfast and beverages to the first responders. . Thank you to all of those who have donated so far! If you would like to show your support and sponsor a first responder, it’s not too late! . Click the link in our bio to donate! . Special thanks to our partners! @lavazzausa @monin_usa @electric @pillsbury @generalmills @lakefrontfamilydentistry @tinamay112020
Sandwich Taverna Forestdale, Massachusetts
The beginning of Sandwich Taverna‘s story can resonate well with all, we want to share a direct piece.
“It’s been and kinda still is a battle. We as restaurant people. We’re kinda programmed differently. Survival mode. Our margins aren’t tight. Our hours are long and personalities can clash. But this brought all us together. Staff. Community. Family. We have all buckled down and the last 12 weeks have been interesting, to say the least.”
COVID-19 caused them to reprogram their business altogether. They cut costs, ran specials, and improved communication with staff and guests. They also share that our POS system made a huge difference in these trying times. We thank you and will continue to help you be Taverna Strong.
Sun in My Belly Atlanta, Georgia
At the beginning of this insane time, Sun in my Belly didn’t know what they were going to do. They started to prepare to sell off anything out of their walk-in and storage they could. Then, came their makeshift produce and grocery store.
Soon after this, a local wrote a blog about their new market and things began to snowball. Their local TV station, NPR, and CNN all picked up their story and shared. After this, they felt it was their responsibility to give back to the community. They began to offer their dining room into a commission-free retail space. This acted as a place for struggling local small businesses to have high visibility and sell items.
They share, “Our success can be reduced down to the incredible love & support from our community. Also, the brilliant creativity & ingenuity of our staff and sheer luck.”
The Local Fayetteville / Lincoln County, Tennessee
“Where Everyone is a Local” is The Local Cafe’s motto but, it’s much more than that. It’s a feeling and a culture. After their doors opened in 2017, community support has been nonstop. When COVID-19 hit, that didn’t stop.
With the support of family members and the community, the business didn’t slow down. The Local was honored to feed all team members of Frito Lay in Fayetteville every shift for a whole week. With 3 shifts per day that came out to almost 1,000 meals. In this time of need, Frito Lay came through for them. They are forever grateful for the support of them and their community.
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Bionicos Plus Downey, California
Bionicos Plus’s story is a prime example of how social media can help in rough times. Before COVID, the business had no social media. After getting the business on Instagram and Facebook, it was finally able to be seen by its customers.
Its anti-flu and vitamin-packed drinks were a big hit as guests wanted to keep their immune system up. Social media allowed its customers to share the content and reach more people. It kept business going for Bionico’s Plus.
Pacific Diner Henderson, Nevada
Pacific Diner was in the middle of switching to CAKE when COVID-19 hit. After staying open for takeout, they had to become more flexible in their business model. They began to ask their customers what they were struggling with at this time. Most said they were unable to get groceries. Because of this, Pacific Diner opened a pantry store. The local news featured the diner and how they have been a “silent hero” for their community. Check it out here.
History in the making
What these businesses have gone through cannot be summed up by the stories above. But, we highlight them to show that success can come from struggling times.
We thank all who shared that CAKE’s POS system helped them during this transition. We’re lucky to assist those shifting to online ordering and with the needs to continue business.
Though this battle is not over, the industry is on the road to recovery. Let our solutions help you along the way.