Judd Fruia, vice president of operations for Front Burner Group Dining, said this is largely due to the company's commitment to open dialogue with its staff throughout the pandemic. While staff was furloughed, Haywire dedicated to feeding them each one meal a day, something staff eagerly took them up on, he said.
"We were very fortunate, and I think a lot of that had to do with the fact that we had good culture going into this beforehand, and we maintain that good culture throughout and maintained a high level communication," Fruia said.
The restaurant took other steps to save money by catering to changing demands of their customers. They first offered survivor-style kits and then transitioned to cooked meals that were popular for to-go orders. Now, Haywire is happy to be restoring many of its menu items to its daily service and is planning specialty meals and packages for events such as Father's Day, Fruia said.
As the restaurant transitions to lessening restrictions by the state, including the ability to open at 75% capacity June 12, Front Burner restaurants are still limited in the number of customers they can seat because of requirements to space tables 6 feet apart.
"When we go from 50 to 75 [percent capacity], I can't really add any more tables because of the 6 feet rule," Fruia said. "What that does is more consumer confidence than anything."
When capacity returns to 100%, restaurants can return to their normal table setups, but other safety measures, such as touch-less options for ordering and paying, will likely stick around, according to Fruia.
In the worst-case scenario, Fruia said Haywire and the rest of Front Burner are prepared to mobilize quickly for curbside.
"It's a disruption and not a pleasant disruption by no means," Fruia said. "But if we had to do it again, we could very easily go back."