McKinney restaurant owner merges businesses to keep afloat, help former employees

Roberto Garcia, a nine-year sous chef at Harvest Seasonal Kitchen and Rick’s Chophouse, helps prepare meals. (Courtesy Rick Wells)
Roberto Garcia, a nine-year sous chef at Harvest Seasonal Kitchen and Rick’s Chophouse, helps prepare meals. (Courtesy Rick Wells)

Roberto Garcia, a nine-year sous chef at Harvest Seasonal Kitchen and Rick’s Chophouse, helps prepare meals. (Courtesy Rick Wells)

Image description
Rick Wells owns Harvest Seasonal Kitchen and Rick's Chophouse, which are both located in downtown McKinney. (courtesy Rick Wells)
Image description
The restaurants provide 40-50 meals a day to former employees and their families. (courtesy Rick Wells.)
Rick Wells had to make one of the hardest decisions in his life, he said, when he laid off the majority of his employees at Harvest Seasonal Kitchen and Rick’s Chophouse in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.

Wells said it was the most brutal thing he has ever done. The base group of 150 employees was whittled down in March to about 25 people, he said.

“We felt like the best thing for us to do was to consolidate down into one team,” he said. “We have a COVID-19 team, and those are the only people that work at the restaurant.”

Despite the layoffs, Wells said the well-being of his employees, both current and former, is still his No. 1 priority.

The remaining team members have taken it upon themselves to minimize risk of exposure to the coronavirus by self-isolating from everyone but each other. Some are staying in hotels, away from their families. Others are living with each other temporarily to ensure they are not coming into contact with anyone else, he said.


In addition, Wells has temporarily merged the two restaurants into one, marrying their menus and offering the most popular items from both out of one location.

At Rick’s, the team cooks the food, prepares the orders and delivers them to customers curbside or at customers' homes.

Harvest, which has been closed to the public, now serves as ground zero for feeding many of the restaurants’ current and former employees for free, Wells said. At the Harvest location, the team cooks family meals, including dinner for the night and lunch for the next day.

“People pull up, we stay 6 feet away, we check on them, we check on their families, and we see if they need anything,” Wells said. “If they need something, they can pick it up the very next day from us. If they need toilet paper, [if] they need some money—whatever they need, they can sit in their car and say, ‘I need this,’ and we will do everything we possibly can to get it to them.”

Wells said this has already proven to be a huge asset to these families. He estimates his crew gives out 40-50 meals a day to former employees and their families.

“It was so uplifting to see our employees and know that we are there for them, that we are going to be there with them this entire time, no matter how long it takes us to get through this unbelievable war that we are in,” he said.
By Emily Davis
Emily graduated from Sam Houston State University with a degree in multi-platform journalism and a minor in criminal justice in Spring 2018. During her studies, Emily worked as an editor and reporter at The Houstonian, SHSU's local newspaper. Upon graduation, she began an editorial internship at Community Impact Newspaper in DFW, where she was then hired as Community Impact's first McKinney reporter in August 2018.


MOST RECENT

Here is the latest data from Collin County's public health department. (Chase Autin/Community Impact Newspaper)
DATA: Confirmed COVID-19 cases in McKinney ZIP codes

McKinney had 10 new cases of the coronavirus reported on May 29.

(Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Collin County to transition coronavirus case management to state health department

The Texas Department of State Health Services will perform all COVID-19 case investigations and contact tracing for Collin County following a vote by Collin County Commissioners Court on May 29.

Gather in downtown McKinney has been unable to book events with 25% occupancy restrictions, the owners said. (Community Impact Newspaper file photo)
‘It’s not enough’: McKinney wedding businesses struggle under 25% occupancy restrictions

While restaurants are allowed to operate at 50% capacity, wedding venues in McKinney and throughout Texas are restricted to the initial 25% occupancy Abbott announced at the start of May due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Collin College is providing this assistance in partnership with the U.S. Department of Education and the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act. (Chase Autin/Community Impact Newspaper)
Collin College offering grants, tuition credit for students affected by coronavirus pandemic

Collin College is offering student grants and tuition credit to students who have been affected by the coronavirus pandemic and the college's shift to online courses.

Bloomdale Road in McKinney is being expanded. (Graphic by Michelle Degard/Community Impact Newspaper)
McKinney transportation update: Bloomdale Road expansion

Construction is not expected to affect existing traffic in the surrounding area.

Across the board, many people are still avoiding in-person visits to reduce their risk of exposure to COVID-19. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Patients delay their medical care in McKinney amid pandemic

With the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, people are slow in returning to their doctors.

A LongHorn Steakhouse was expected to open in early 2020 at The Citadel development near I-35W and Heritage Trace Parkway. The opening has been delayed, according to staff. (Ian Pribanic/Community Impact Newspaper)
Tuesday Morning bankruptcy, census data and three other DFW-area stories

Here are five recent updates from the metroplex, on delayed openings, mass layoffs and more.

Those who give blood through May 31 will receive a t-shirt by mail while supplies last. For the month of June, donators will receive a $5 Amazon gift card through email, courtesy Amazon, according to American Red Cross. (Courtesy American Red Cross)
Red Cross offers incentives for blood donations in Dallas-Fort Worth area

The American Red Cross has roughly 1,300 blood donation appointments in North Texas that need to be filled through June 15.

The White Rock Family YMCA in Dallas is among the seven area locations that are set to reopen at partial capacity June 1. (Courtesy YMCA of Metropolitan Dallas)
MAY 31 ROUNDUP: Business news from Dallas-Fort Worth area

Read the latest business news from Dallas-Fort Worth.

Here are the latest coronavirus updates for Collin County readers. (Community Impact staff)
3 additional coronavirus cases reported in McKinney

Health officials reported 19 new cases of coronavirus in Collin County on May 28, including three McKinney cases.

Airport Drive in McKinney is undergoing construction. (Graphic by Michelle Degard/Community Impact Newspaper)
McKinney transportation update: New turn lane coming to Airport Drive

In June, work will continue to pave new northbound lanes north of FM 546 and create a new southbound right-turn lane at Industrial Boulevard, officials said.

The Bodega at Craig Ranch is an upscale convenience store located in McKinney. (Courtesy The Bodega at Craig Ranch)
New convenience store The Bodega at Craig Ranch opens its doors

A new upscale convenience store opened May 25 at Craig Ranch in McKinney.